Over the past decade I have been privileged enough to explore over 35 different countries. And while many places stand out in my mind, few places have stolen my heart. This is the story of Fort Chipewyan, my newest love and Alberta’s oldest established trading post (est. 1778). A community cut off, quite literally, from the rest of the world.
A short 1 hour flight from the old Airport in Fort McMurray, I have been rendezvousing with this phenomenal land since March of 2019. Nearly 9 months into my bimonthly posting here and I can attest that this place is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
If I am ever asked what it is like I typically reply “more nature than human” a testament to a slower pace of life. Open roads, kind people, thoughtful words and thousands upon thousands of acres of unspoiled wilderness. I remember my initial visit; I was nervous and overwhelmed; use to the hustle of Fort McMurray’s city vibe, I soon realized that mentality is irrelevant and unnecessary here.
Spiritual. The people who live here have a deep connection to the land and in response, the land acts as a guardian for them. It’s a dreamy place. And while many traditions have been lost, many traditions have also been preserved from trap lines to dog sleds, solstice celebrations to good home-cooked meals.
As the only Registered Massage Therapist working here I have been fortunate enough to have met some amazing people. Isolated communities present an entirely new set of challenges but also provide immense opportunity for growth. Thank you Fort Chipewyan, for inviting me into your community and allowing me to do what I love. Also, thank you Mike and Colinda Taddeo for recommending me for this gig and quenching my love for adventure.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend you do. You can expect hospitality, kindness and beauty galore. A short trip from the oil sands, it’s well worth the shift in perspective and kicking it back into a lower gear. Nature lovers rejoice!
Also, if you happen to need a massage, I am here every other week 😉