#ExploreNB by Adam Travis

To celebrate New Brunswick day, I’ve gone through my archive to dig up some of my favourite shots of the province I call home to share with you. It's also serving as a little farewell since I'm taking off for Korea in less than a month and have no idea where I'll end up when I'm back in Canada. 

New Brunswick gets a bad rap as a drive-through province, but if you know where to look, it becomes nothing short of magical. Morning fog quietly shrouding the Saint John river, an expanse of stars over a canopy of trees in Fundy National Park, the cotton candy clouds of a midsummer sunset, the bright colours of fireworks and fall leaves or just the quiet, cozy refuge of a coffee shop in downtown Fredericton, these are the moments I’ve been documenting ever since I laid hands on a camera.

As a New Brunswick day special, I’ve knocked back prices on all prints in my store for the rest of the week – making it that much easier to get a little bit of the picture province on your walls.

Have a safe and happy New Brunswick day!

Adam

Canada Day fireworks in downtown Miramichi. Buy Print

Canada Day fireworks in downtown Miramichi. Buy Print

Morning fog shrouds the banks of the Miramichi River. Buy Print

Morning fog shrouds the banks of the Miramichi River. Buy Print

Lupins grow in a field off Route 8 in rural New Brunswick. Buy Print

Lupins grow in a field off Route 8 in rural New Brunswick. Buy Print

Brianna crosses the Salmon River footbridge outside Saint Martins, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Brianna crosses the Salmon River footbridge outside Saint Martins, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Route 8 in fog and fall colour, outside Fredericton. Buy Print

Route 8 in fog and fall colour, outside Fredericton. Buy Print

Garden Brook Falls outside Fredericton. Buy Print

Garden Brook Falls outside Fredericton. Buy Print

Downtown Fredericton on a clear, still night. Buy Print

Downtown Fredericton on a clear, still night. Buy Print

Ice and high water at the mouth of the Nashwaak river in Fredericton. Buy Print

Ice and high water at the mouth of the Nashwaak river in Fredericton. Buy Print

Chimney smoke catches the last light of the day in the hills of Welsford, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Chimney smoke catches the last light of the day in the hills of Welsford, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Kids skate through Officers' Square in downtown Fredericton. Buy Print

Kids skate through Officers' Square in downtown Fredericton. Buy Print

Grand Manan's Swallowtail lighthouse. Buy Print

Grand Manan's Swallowtail lighthouse. Buy Print

The towering cliffs of Southwest Head on Grand Manan. Buy Print

The towering cliffs of Southwest Head on Grand Manan. Buy Print

A ride at the Kings County Fair in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Buy Print

A ride at the Kings County Fair in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Boats on the waterfront of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Boats on the waterfront of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Fog lifts off the Saint John River in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Fog lifts off the Saint John River in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Fall colour creeps through the Saint John River valley. Buy Print

Fall colour creeps through the Saint John River valley. Buy Print

Fall colour detail. Buy Print

Fall colour detail. Buy Print

Fall colour at the Enclosure in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Fall colour at the Enclosure in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Buy Print

Stars above Fundy National Park. Buy Print

Stars above Fundy National Park. Buy Print

Star trails above the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi. Buy Print

Star trails above the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi. Buy Print

Read's Newsstand decked out in fall colour in downtown Fredericton. Buy Print

Read's Newsstand decked out in fall colour in downtown Fredericton. Buy Print

Cotton candy clouds float over the University of New Brunswick at dusk. Buy Print

Cotton candy clouds float over the University of New Brunswick at dusk. Buy Print

The Milky Way looms large over a canopy of campfire-lit trees in Fundy National Park. Buy Print

The Milky Way looms large over a canopy of campfire-lit trees in Fundy National Park. Buy Print

Part 4: Greece by Adam Travis

So here we are, the final chapter. Life has been hectic lately: we're moving out this weekend. I spent the other night wrestling a couch off a balcony, up a flight of stairs, back down and out to the curb after it didn't fit through a doorway. Time to write, therefore, is a nice break from packing, lifting and sweating.

If this is the first post you're reading, make sure to read up on the first three parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

CORFU

When we left off last time, we were making our way through the strait of Corfu, on our way to the island's main city by the same name. A short nap, a few snacks and a Gravol later, we were docked.

Quiet street corner outside of old town, Corfu. 

Quiet street corner outside of old town, Corfu. 

Pulling into the ferry port in Corfu. 

Pulling into the ferry port in Corfu. 

We bussed to our hotel in the south of the city, near the airport and unpacked for the umpteenth time. A short while later, we met back with our group to walk to the old town for dinner. The light on Corfu was magical; we walked along the bay towards old town as the evening sun bathed the old Venetian fort in golden light.

Venetian fortress, circa 15th century. 

Venetian fortress, circa 15th century. 

Later we arrived at a hole-in-the wall family restaurant with just enough tables to seat the 15 of us. Small in size, the little tavern left us fuller than we had been all month. Steaming hot moussaka, saganaki, and a Greek salad made for an excellent first taste of Greek cuisine. 

Food and entertainment were both in abundance. 

Food and entertainment were both in abundance. 

Reflected light outside a cafe in Corfu. 

Reflected light outside a cafe in Corfu. 

The next day we walked back into the old town to do some shopping and down a fredo cappuccino or five. By noon, though, the heat had gotten to us and we retreated to the hotel to meet up with the group and head across the island to the beach.

Morning report, Corfu. 

Morning report, Corfu. 

Despite a meandering bus ride (which we barely made it on), we got to the beach with plenty of time before our scheduled pickup. The beach was sandier than others we'd visited so far, the water was perfect and we even found a nearby cafe willing to spot us some ice for our ouzo.

Morning light in the Corfu's old town. 

Morning light in the Corfu's old town. 

Palaiokastritsa beach, on the Western coast of Corfu. 

Palaiokastritsa beach, on the Western coast of Corfu. 

The ride back was quick, thanks to a deal we struck with our bus driver from the day before, and we had just enough time to freshen up for dinner. We took a short walk from the hotel to a park overlooking the water and sat down at a tapas restaurant. Mussels, fresh tomatoes, warm bread, eggplant dip and marinated lamb filled the table and our stomachs. That evening, we took over the hotel patio with the group to enjoy our second-last evening together.

ATHENS

The next morning we were up with the sun to catch a mid-morning flight to Athens. Our hotel was all of an eight minute walk to the departures terminal; it's hard to beat that level of convenience. A quick flight and an hour's bus ride later, we had arrived at our hotel. Not a minute too soon, either: five minutes after we got off the bus, the street we had just been on was filled with people protesting the ongoing garbage strike in the country.

Scaffolding on building, meant to protect pedestrians from debris. 

Scaffolding on building, meant to protect pedestrians from debris. 

Mailboxes in Monastiraki neighbourhood. 

Mailboxes in Monastiraki neighbourhood. 

Our hotel was in a rougher part of Athens, exacerbated by a struggling economy and influx of immigrants. We were within walking distance of the Acropolis and the historic Plaka district which we'd be staying in tomorrow and for the rest of the trip, but were still on edge walking back to the hotel after the sun set.

Acropolis as seen from Monastiraki square. 

Acropolis as seen from Monastiraki square. 

That evening we ate our final group dinner at an open-air family restaurant near the Plaka then sauntered through the streets to a bar with live music. On our way back, we stopped at a bakery to grab something sweet as a nightcap and said our goodbyes to everyone.

The next morning was the first of a few days Brianna and I would have to ourselves and to be honest, they've started to blur together a bit. We spent the first day cabbing across historic Athens to a hotel in the Plaka and spent the afternoon exploring the winding streets of the old neighbourhood, throwing in a visit to a fish spa along the way.

Signs of the economic crisis linger in all corners of Athens. 

Signs of the economic crisis linger in all corners of Athens. 

After a restful day (and with fresh feet), we took on the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. It felt surreal to stand at the feet of a structure so saturated in history, to realize that I was in front of a building that has lasted eons and left generations of people as awestruck as I was. Even under repair and clothed in scaffolding, it's an imposing structure.

Parthenon, Athens.

Parthenon, Athens.

A crowd in the entryway to the Acropolis. 

A crowd in the entryway to the Acropolis. 

The heat on the hill was nothing short of oppressive, though, and we hiked down to visit the accompanying Acropolis Museum. The museum brought in a lot of context to what we had seen on the hill. Statues, figures, carvings and relics of daily life filled the museum. Underneath the building's glass floors was the excavation of more ruins, another example of history's inescapable presence in the city.

A man walks outside the Acropolis Museum, built above an ancient village. 

A man walks outside the Acropolis Museum, built above an ancient village. 

That evening we escaped the main streets of the Plaka to a more low-key restaurant, then paid a visit to Brettos. Brettos is an old distillery in the heart of the Plaka, known for their huge variety of spirits and very Instagrammable bottle wall.

Brettos bar, and their Instagram-famous bottle wall. 

Brettos bar, and their Instagram-famous bottle wall. 

"When the ouzo is strong"

"When the ouzo is strong"

The next day was our last full day in the city and we made the most of it, with a hike up the hill of the muses, which overlooks the Acropolis, a trip to the National Gardens to cool off and escape the heat, capped off with a rooftop movie with a view of the Acropolis.

Workers in the Anafiotika neighbourhood, South of the Acropolis. 

Workers in the Anafiotika neighbourhood, South of the Acropolis. 

The historic and touristy Plaka neighbourhood. 

The historic and touristy Plaka neighbourhood. 

Sitting out in the cool evening air, the Acropolis lit up to my left under a crescent moon, it was unbelievable. It's not often you realize a moment will be one of your favourite memories while you're still living in it.

Acropolis lit up at night, under crescent moon. 

Acropolis lit up at night, under crescent moon. 

The next morning, we packed our things, hopped in a cab and drove down along the coast to the airport and took off for Canada.

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Part 3: Albania by Adam Travis

Welcome back! If you haven't read the first two posts yet, go ahead and check them out here:

Part 1

Part 2

Out third country was Albania. While we had a rough idea of what to expect in Croatia and Montenegro, Albania was a total unknown. I knew the country had been under a communist dictatorship for almost 50 years and that it struggled with unrest in its transition to a democracy in the '90s. But modern Albania? I had no idea.

TIRANA

A taxi driver in Tirana, Albania. 

A taxi driver in Tirana, Albania. 

The roads in the countryside were about the same as we'd seen in Montenegro, but as we narrowed in on the capital, Tirana, things got crazy. Traffic felt chaotic. Lane markings came and went, as did guardrails. The buildings began to rise around us as we pushed toward the city centre and with each roundabout, I became more and more grateful for our driver. 

A man cycles through Tirana's main square. The stone tiles are meant to represent the different areas of Albania and are kept wet to show their full colour. 

A man cycles through Tirana's main square. The stone tiles are meant to represent the different areas of Albania and are kept wet to show their full colour. 

A man stands in front of the entrance to the Bunk-Art museum. The museum honours the victims of Albania's communist dictatorship. 

A man stands in front of the entrance to the Bunk-Art museum. The museum honours the victims of Albania's communist dictatorship. 

After making it to our hotel, we met up with a local guide. He advised us that crossing the street requires pedestrians to be much more assertive than we were used to, then we took off on a tour of the capital. Along the way, we stopped at an ancient mosque, the brand-new central square, soaring skyscrapers and construction projects left half-finished, out of money. 

Abania is a majority Muslim country, though very few people practice regularly. Despite this, the capital is still host to a massive church and Orthodox cathedral with a towering mosque under construction. For a country that cracked down on religion as strictly as Albania had in the '60s, these massive places of worship were a sharp contrast. After the tour, we decided to make a quick visit to a nearby museum, the House of Leaves. 

A man checks his phone on the steps of Tirana's massive Orthodox christian church. 

A man checks his phone on the steps of Tirana's massive Orthodox christian church. 

The House of Leaves was built as a medical facility but under the communist regime, it played host to the headquarters of the Sigurimi, the Albanian secret police. Inside, the building was largely original besides the striking exhibits throughout its halls. Reels of taped conversations lined the walls upstairs, while a room full of camera equipment and recording devices stood as physical evidence of the surveillance the Albanian people were under. 

Documents detailing surveillance measures at the House of Leaves. 

Documents detailing surveillance measures at the House of Leaves. 

Feeling more attuned to the history of the country we were in, we met the group back at Tirana’s main square and headed to dinner. That evening, we grabbed some drinks at a rotating bar.

GIJROKASTËR

Modern Gjirokastër, as seen from the castle. 

Modern Gjirokastër, as seen from the castle. 

The next day we had an early wake-up and a long bus ride to Sarandë. Along the way, we stopped in Gjirokastër, a city whose old town is one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture. The city’s castle holds trophies of war (mostly foreign canons, as well as a captured US T-33 jet) and gives visitors a great view of the surrounding valley. After a quick lunch, we continued on the winding mountain roads to the Blue Eye.

Sign to the Blue Eye, with the Bistricë river in the background. 

Sign to the Blue Eye, with the Bistricë river in the background. 

From 50 metres underground, 10-degree water comes surging to the surface and becomes the source of the Bistricë river. The frigid, foot-numbing water was a relief after baking in the sun all afternoon. After a quick swim, we hopped back on the bus and continued to Sarandë. 

SARANDË

Rolling blue hills on the road from Sarandë to Butrint. 

Rolling blue hills on the road from Sarandë to Butrint. 

Sarandë sits on the coast of Albania; from the shore, you can see Corfu on the horizon. We settled in at our hotel, just a shot walk from the beach, then ate at a restaurant right on the water. After the sun set, we spent the evening people-watching along the shore. 

The next day, we took a bus to the Butrint Roman Ruins. We arrived early and it felt like we had accidentally stumbled on the ruins on a hike – a stark contrast to the shoulder-to-shoulder experience expected in bigger centres. Of course, the seven tour buses that pulled up as we left told a different story, but it was still surreal to be almost alone with such an interesting piece of history. 

Amphitheatre in Butrint, Albania. 

Amphitheatre in Butrint, Albania. 

That afternoon, we took refuge from the heat back at the hotel before boarding our ferry to Corfu. 

That does it for part 3. Check back early next week for the final installment!

Part 2: Montenegro by Adam Travis

Happy Monday! If you haven’t read part 1 yet, start here.

After a week in Croatia, we were excited to fill out passports with more ink and to see some new places. Sunday evening, we met our new group members over dinner and long conversations on our hostel patio. 

The next morning, we piled into a private bus and drove along twisty mountain roads to the Montenegro border. 

PERAST

This was a relatively tame section of road along the coast. 

This was a relatively tame section of road along the coast. 

Tower of Our Lady of the Rocks (back) and an iron cross. 

Tower of Our Lady of the Rocks (back) and an iron cross. 

Our first stop in Montenegro was Perast, a small village on the Bay of Kotor. In the middle of the bay sits a church, known as Our Lady of the Rocks. The church is known for it's unconventional construction method: it was built on an artificial island of stones and sunken ships. The full story is fascinating and it was surreal to stand on the island after hearing how it was built. 

Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast. 

Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast. 

KOTOR

After Perast, we continued along the bay to Kotor. The town is known for its historic district, which is surrounded by thick fortress walls that extend up the hill behind the city and lead to a  fortress that overlooks the bay. The historic town is full of Venetian-styled buildings and narrow streets. As confusing as the streets were at first, we soon got the hang of navigating by landmarks instead of street names. 

Venetian-style buildings and narrow streets in Kotor. 

Venetian-style buildings and narrow streets in Kotor. 

We took a quick tour of the town before dinner, then gathered in the lounge of our hostel before exploring town at night. 

A man reads as seabirds fly by, Budva.

A man reads as seabirds fly by, Budva.

The next day, we took a trip out to Budva, a city on the coast, for some beach time. That evening, we picked up a snack at a bakery then hiked up the fortress walls to the top of the hill. 1,200 metres and 18 minutes later, we were at the top. We watched the last light of the day fade from Kotor as the sun ducked behind the mountains, then headed back down. 

Sunset from the old fortress, Kotor. 

Sunset from the old fortress, Kotor. 

As the town grew dark, we grabbed some cheap beer from a corner store and met the rest of the group on the rocky beach outside old town. Looking back up the hill, the lights of the fortress walls rose sharply above the town, while the dark mountains behind it blended into the inky blue sky. 

The next day, we packed up again and headed for Albania. 

Keep an eye out this week for parts 3 and 4 about Albania and Greece!

Croatian Coasts by Adam Travis

20 days, four countries and over two thousand photos. I spent much of June with Brianna on a trip through Eastern Europe. We traveled from Zagreb, Croatia, to Athens, Greece, working our way down the coast through Montenegro and Albania along the way. 

I had a few ideas about the countries I was visiting as I boarded the twin-prop plane in Halifax: I knew Eastern Europe was (a little) less touristy than the West, the food in Greece was spectacular, and that I had no idea about Albania besides their love of milk-soaked cake. What I didn’t expect was the blooming craft beer scene in Zagreb, how far Albania has come in the last 20 years and just how good fresh-made moussaka is. 

Sunset at Pearson International Airport

Sunset at Pearson International Airport

ZAGREB

We started our trip in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. While we would be meeting up with a tour group in a couple days, we wanted to be sure to see the city on our own and be able to make up our own schedule. 

A busy street in Zagreb. 

A busy street in Zagreb. 

The highlight of our time in the capital city was a beer tour. Our guide, Ozrin, led us from the modern downtown to the historic old city and into his own neighbourhood. Along the way, we stopped at pubs, secluded beer gardens, rooftop patios and a restaurant around the corner from his house.  

A day full of beer, meat pastries and walking made for an early bedtime. 

A day full of beer, meat pastries and walking made for an early bedtime. 

Locks frame the spire of the historic St. Mark's Church in Zagreb's old town.  

Locks frame the spire of the historic St. Mark's Church in Zagreb's old town.  

Being able to visit places we might have otherwise skipped over or not noticed gave me a greater appreciation for the city than I would have if I had stuck to the main tourist streets and sidewalk patios. 

PLITVICE

The next day, we met up with other members of our group and prepared for our next stop: Plitvice National Park, two hours from Zagreb. The park is known for its countless waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes and breathtaking scenery. Try as I might, it was hard to take a bad picture – even in harsh daylight and in a crowd of other tourists. We did a short hike the evening we arrived, then took on a six-hour loop the next morning before the mid-day heat. 

Still lakes gave way to roaring waterfalls again and again at Plitvice National Park. 

Still lakes gave way to roaring waterfalls again and again at Plitvice National Park. 

SPLIT

That afternoon, we packed up again and headed for the coast. Split is a coastal city and home of Diocletian’s Palace. Tree-lined streets and views of lush, vibrant hills were replaced by a forest of ships’ masts in the harbour and flocks of seabirds darting between buildings. 

Birds circle a church's tower at dusk in Split. 

Birds circle a church's tower at dusk in Split. 

Workers ride a trolley through the old streets of Diocletian's palace. 

Workers ride a trolley through the old streets of Diocletian's palace. 

The change could be tasted, too. Bacon pastries and cheese-stuffed sausages gave way to fresh grilled seafood. We started our day with a tour of Diocletian's Palace, then spent the afternoon enjoying both the sun and breeze at the beach. 

Hanging out by the water in Split. 

Hanging out by the water in Split. 

HVAR

The next day ended up being the only break in the otherwise perfect weather. The skies were grey at dawn and by the time we were boarding our ferry to Hvar, we were getting soaked. Hvar was not much drier that afternoon. 

Boats in every shape and size in Hvar's harbour. 

Boats in every shape and size in Hvar's harbour. 

By that evening, though, the clouds broke – just in time for a sunset boat cruise. We sailed from cove to cove, jumping into the clear water and snacking on grocery store wine and cheese along the way. Despite a painful back-flop by yours truly, it was another highlight of the trip.  

The fortress overlooking Hvar town. 

The fortress overlooking Hvar town. 

After the sun sank, we cruised back to the harbour and squeezed between the huge yachts that had all come in from offshore while we had been gone. Up on the hill above town, an old Spanish fortress was lit up against the inky blue sky. Not a bad ending to a day that started with rain. 

DUBROVNIK

The next day would be our last stop in Croatia – the iconic city of Dubrovnik. We boarded a ferry and settled in for a three-hour ride along the coast. After unpacking at our hostel, we bussed over to the old city. Much of Game of Thrones is filmed within the old city walls and it’s clear why: thick walls, winding stone streets and rows upon rows of red-roofed buildings are all found in the old city. 

Golden hour in Dubrovnik. 

Golden hour in Dubrovnik. 

The walls of Dubrovnik were spectacular, but what I enjoyed the most was getting off the crowded main streets and getting into the back streets or just taking in the view. After a while, touristy areas can start to feel like a theme park and it’s refreshing to just sit back and watch people go about their lives. 

People relax on the breakwater outside the city walls of Dubrovnik. 

People relax on the breakwater outside the city walls of Dubrovnik. 

That night at a sunset dinner, we said goodbye to the tour group members who wouldn’t be joining us for the second half of our trip. The next day, after a morning walk around the city walls and checking out some museums, we took it easy and I took care of some long-overdue laundry.

Since there’s so much more to cover (and since I’m using this as a bit of a travel journal) I’m going to break this trip up by country for the sake of length. Tomorrow, Montenegro, then Albania and Greece next week. 

Old Earth, Fresh Ideas by Adam Travis

This article was published in the April 2017 issue of the Brunswickan

With one look at the razor-sharp part in his hair and his perfectly groomed beard, you’d be forgiven for thinking Phil Taber is just another style-conscious 20-something walking around UNB Fredericton’s campus. However, the scarlet plaid wool jacket and rubber boots tell a different story: in addition to working as a librarian and serving as don of Harrison house, Taber is an active farmer, working the land that has been in his family since the 1870s.

When you turn off the winding country road and crawl up the snowy drive to the nearly 150-year-old gingerbread-style farmhouse, it’s hard to believe that Saint John is only a half hour’s drive away. The house and farm buildings sit halfway up a steep hillside overlooking the Kennebecasis river and marshland to the South.

During a tour of the farm, Taber ducks from shed to barn to garage, explaining his plans for almost every item he comes across and every corner of the property: old lightning rods to install on the new barn, shoring up the floor in the livestock pens, how he’ll be clearing the woods downhill from the house, planting maple trees along the driveway so they can keep making maple syrup, how last weekend he and his dad cut timber to repair a barn down the hill.

Small though it may be, compared to an industrial farm, the family property keeps Phil busy.

Last year, the Taber farm was home to two pigs, four sheep and 25 chickens, in addition to a quarter-acre garden, oats and hay. In the spring, sugar maples drip sap for syrup and in the fall, currants are turned into jam. Firewood for heat and timber for construction both come from the back lot of their 200-acre plot.

Speaking passionately about rotating garden crops, maintaining fields and a seemingly endless schedule of renovations and improvements, Taber has come a long way from his youth.

“When I was a kid, I hated the farm. I liked living there insofar as it's a great place to play, excellent games of tag and great sliding, but I despised the farm work. Hated weeding the garden, hated going to the woods with dad on bitterly cold days in January, being sent out with a peanut butter sandwich and a bottle of water and some cookies.”

Any resentment for cold January mornings or tedious chores has long since faded, and then some. Before returning from a ten-year stint in Halifax for school and work, Taber felt a tug known to many Maritimers — a deep longing for home, even when home is just the next province over.

“I felt like I was exiled from my home, exiled from my family history, exiled from southern New Brunswick, which I deeply love. It felt like I’d been exiled and realized, only once I was away from it, this farm and this place and these activities are really integral to the way that I view myself as a person and the way that I want to be in the world.”

Taber first felt the pull towards the end of his undergraduate degree, but thought that an academic career and a life on the farm were exclusive to one another. Reluctant to chalk up his desire to family obligation or a love of nature, Taber found justification for his return to the farm in the literature of Wendell Berry.

“It seems silly, it seems tangential but discovering Wendell Berry's poetry and his essays … it really gave me a theoretical underpinning for why the kind of farming I'd been brought up with, the kind of farming that I wanted to do that is to say the small, intentional, subsistence-based farming, why it was important.”

With full justification for his decision, Taber was fortunate enough to find a job at UNB’s Harriet Irving Library, only an hour and a half from the family homestead. As close to home as he may have been, balancing his love of the farm with the obligations of work and his role as don of Harrison proved to be challenging.

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While Taber has a passion for the land, his parents still live in the house, and his father is still the primary caretaker through the fall and winter. For Phil, the farm is largely a weekend project, and he makes the drive from Fredericton most weeks when he’s not occupied by responsibilities in residence.

“As humans, we're usually obliged to juggle things that are more or less convenient, that we like to greater and lesser degrees, but all of them are essential to either our livelihood or our happiness … I mean, things are always changing, but for now I'm happy with the balance that I've struck.”

The Taber farm was not always a hobby; up until the mid-’50s, the farm had a commercial dairy operation. However, the quotas imposed by the new dairy board squeezed the small farm out of business.

That’s not to say the farm will never return to a commercial operation, however. The food industry has seen a push away from the products of industrial farms half a continent away, toward locally-grown produce and meat. This, says Taber, is where the future of small farms comes into play.

For example, industrial cattle farms work on a model of a fast turnaround and slim margins: get cows to gain weight fast eating grain, soy and corn, fetch a good price, and repeat as soon as possible. Contrast this with the grass-fed, free range model which requires more space per cow and more time, but commands a much higher price and in turn gives the farmer a better profit per animal. On top of a better profit, Taber believes there’s value in knowing where your food came from and how it was treated.

"I think it's a good thing for people to know where their chicken lived, where their beets were grown where their apples were picked and how those things were treated between the time they were a seed or an infant and the time they landed on the table."

Phil plans in years, not days. Ask him about next year’s harvest and he’ll haul out charts of the rotation of crops for the garden that year. About the future of the farm, and he’ll describe the delicate balance in which it sits: to fix up the buildings, he must first pay off his student loan. To expand his farmland, he’ll have to cut down the current sugar bush. If he wants to keep making maple syrup, he’ll have to plant the maples 25 years before he wants to tap them.

Whether or not the farm becomes a commercial enterprise again doesn’t seem to faze Phil. He’s more concerned about keeping the farm going for his sake, and for his future family.

“I want to do it sooner rather than later so I and my family can enjoy them. I'd like to have it underway by then. I have an unrealistic notion of strapping a baby to my back and going out into the fields, but there may be opportunities to do major bursts of work.”

Baby on his back or not, for Taber the farm is more than a source of food, its traditions or a way of life — it’s what gives him a feeling of connection to the world. He points to a line in Wendell Berry’s “A Standing Ground” as a summary of how he feels:

“Better than any argument is to rise at and dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”

“If I could pin my heart on something that I think is crucial to what it means to be human or maybe the challenge of being human, it is that. Everybody finds the activity that ground them and I just feel blessed to have found something that has such rich context.”

Monochrome Cuba by Adam Travis

This March break, I had the luck to travel down to Cuba with Brianna for a week away from winter and to reacquaint myself with above-zero temperatures. Initially, I wanted to fully 'unplug' and shoot film all week, but in the end, went with the cheaper option. However I still wanted to put together a small album that represented the week and incorporated some of my favourite shots from the street and countryside. 

Seeing as it was March break, the airport was absolutely packed and hectic - as to be expected. Outside, modern Chinese tour buses filled the parking lot alongside vintage American cars and trucks. After a mis-stamped visa and security-line-turned-mosh-pit, we grabbed some beer for the bus ride out to Guardalavaca. 

After getting to the resort and unpacking, we headed to the beach to catch the sunset. Used to sunsets obscured by trees, buildings and hills, seeing the sun sink behind the hazy mountains to the West was stunning.

The nightly entertainment was just that. While the band playing dad-rock covers was talented, the star of the show was undoubtedly the guy sporting an ‘East Coast Lifestyle’ t-shirt who burst onstage to join the band in dancing.

Resort staff watch the show unfold from the balcony. Convenient as they may be, I can’t imagine these rooms being very peaceful.

A rattling train ride through the Cuban countryside kicked off a day of touring around the province. As we rolled through the countryside, chickens ran past blacked-out Ladas, which also shared the streets with horse-drawn-buggies and cyclists. Rural areas of the country are marked by basic agriculture.

A man stands in front of crops at the end of the rail line.

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Next stop was Holguin city. Climbing the 400+ steps to the top of the historic Hill of the Cross was rewarded with a stunning view in all directions.

Flowering vines creep down through the open roof of one of Holguin’s snack bars.

A couple walks through a shopping district just off the main square in Holguin.

A rarity in Canada, this payphone still got some use in central Holguin.

From Holguin, we drove north to Gibara – a town of 72,000 in the south of Cuba. Once a bustling trade point, the loss of its rail connection in the 50’s has left the city seeming stranded in time. Old architecture (some renovated, some in need) dominates the landscape. One renovated structure is the Ordoño hotel: a former private residence transformed into a 27-room hotel.

Men talk outside the Ordoño hotel in Gibara.

A man looks out from the roof of the Ordoño. 

Wherever you go, kids are still kids.

And dogs are largely still dogs.

Standing on the rocks overlooking Gibara Bay, a man casts a fishing line into the breaking surf. Gibara has felt the brunt of the sea more than once, taking damage from both hurricanes Ike and Sandy. 

A boy walking along the beach in Guardalavaca. The rest of the week was spent enjoying the sun before heading back to a cold (-30 on arrival, with windchill) and snowy Canada.

Of course, no beach day(s) would be complete without a beach buddy. 

Fredericton Streets by Adam Travis

The sun is setting at 4:30, there’s snow on the ground and my vitamin D intake is through the roof. Winter can suck for photos, and while I’m dreading the grey masses of crusty snow we’ll have by February, I’m working on staying motivated through photo projects.

November 2016: A man checks his phone as a cyclist passes

November 2016: A man checks his phone as a cyclist passes

For me, that’s meant working on street photography. Whether it’s going on a photo walk or stumbling across a scene on my way to class, I like catching moments – someone reflected in a window, running to catch a bus, or just on a smoke break.

August 2015: A man takes a smoke break at Saint John's Lilly Lake Pavillion

August 2015: A man takes a smoke break at Saint John's Lilly Lake Pavillion

I like that the photos document Fredericton in a way it’s not usually seen. Instead of ultra-colorful sunsets from the bridge, I like capturing the movement of people through places, the art in everyday things.

August 2016: A lineman is framed by poles and wires

August 2016: A lineman is framed by poles and wires

Never mind the fact that it’s easy to feel self-conscious doing it. Walking down the street and pointing a camera at total strangers can feel a little bit creepy, let’s be honest. But besides the fact that it’s one of the oldest forms of photography, street photography is crucial to a city’s identity.

July 2016: Dancers swing through the crowd at Fredericton River Jam

July 2016: Dancers swing through the crowd at Fredericton River Jam

More than a skyline, a pretty sunset or a perfectly lit stock photo, Fredericton is the people that live here. Dancers, bikers, runners or just grocery shoppers, everyone is part of the city’s identity.

April 2016: Shoppers come and go at Victory Meat Market

April 2016: Shoppers come and go at Victory Meat Market

While it’s borderline impossible to document every single one, street photography gets us closer to understanding the culture of cities and neighborhoods than pretty sunsets ever will.

January 2016: Kids skate across an icy Officers' Square.

January 2016: Kids skate across an icy Officers' Square.

November 2016: A soldier in formal dress, reflected in a window

November 2016: A soldier in formal dress, reflected in a window

September 2016: People lounge on the steps of the Fredericton courthouse during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival

September 2016: People lounge on the steps of the Fredericton courthouse during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival

August 2015: A runner crosses the Bill Thorpe Walking bridge, shrouded in fog

August 2015: A runner crosses the Bill Thorpe Walking bridge, shrouded in fog