Filmmaker chronicles her wilderness journeys on the Trans Canada Trail

Dianne Whelan on TransCanada Trail in New Brunswick. Photo: Ann Verrall

Dianne Whelan on the Trail in New Brunswick. Photo: Ann Verrall

Dianne Whelan is filming her adventures travelling the Trans Canada Trail partly to show it’s possible to escape the frenzy of life in the 21st century.

“Almost everybody I know is suffering from anxiety or depression,” she says adding that while modern technology aims at speed and efficiency, it cuts people off from what’s around them.

“Part of the intrigue of the Trail,” she says, “is going back to the old way.”

For Whelan, the “old way” includes taking time to talk with the people she encounters on her travels. It also involves moving slowly through Canada’s rugged and beautiful landscapes.

Whelan began her journey on Canada Day, July 1, 2015, near St. John’s, Newfoundland. Since then, her journey has taken her into Cape Breton, Mainland Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and most recently, New Brunswick.  She reached Sackville on cross-country skis last Thursday.

Her official goal is to travel the 23,000 kilometres from Atlantic to Pacific and then on to the Arctic Ocean by July 1, 2017, but says she’s learning not to impose artificial deadlines.

“I laugh because I called the project 500 Days in the Wild, and clearly, I’m on day 137 and I’m in New Brunswick so I will not be done in 500 days.”

But rather than getting stressed out about  her slow progress, Whelan sees it as an advantage.

“For me, it’s very much the story of the turtle and the hare,” she says. “If I was just fixated on getting somewhere by a certain time, I wouldn’t stop and engage with some of the people that I’ve had the opportunity to engage with and certainly the journey in that regard is far more important to me than what day or what time I finish the project.”

To listen to CHMA-FM campus radio reports on Dianne Whalen’s adventures click here for Part One and here for Part Two.

Click for the website, 500 Days in the Wild.

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