Road Trip Around Nova Scotia (with my cat)

At the end of this past summer, I went on a 10-day road trip around Nova Scotia with my boyfriend and our cat. We visited Sydney in Cape Breton, Antigonish, and Lunenburg. How did we end up going on a road trip? Well, we wanted to travel but we also didn’t want to leave our cat at home alone, so a road trip seemed perfect for us. It’s flexible, convenient, and cost-effective. We thought it would be cool to have a road trip around Nova Scotia, the place we’ve called home for four years now but haven’t had the chance to really look around.

Little tip for you: if you are planning on going on a road trip, packing light is key. Being the overly cautious person that I am, I made a long list of things that were needed for the road trip. Food, blankets, emergency kits, clothes, makeup, and miscellaneous things got stuffed into two or three duffle bags, which in turn were stuffed into our car with our cat’s carrier and his litter box. This made it difficult to find things for one, but also forced us to make at least two trips to get all the things we needed into our hotel room.

I thought that bringing our cat was going to be the biggest challenge on the trip. For one, I thought it would be hard to find pet-friendly hotels, but actually it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. The three hotels that we stayed at were all pet-friendly and very accommodating to our needs. I was also worried our cat wouldn’t adjust to the sudden change of environment. Surprisingly, he did very well. He seemed to adapt to different hotels very quickly, usually he would be completely fine with the new environment by the next day. When we went out, we left him in the hotel room with the “Do Not Disturb” sign on. However, we occasionally took him out to parks and beaches (he had his leash on). He was very curious about the outside world, and it seems he enjoyed the trip as much as we did!

We spent the most time in Lunenburg, which has become my favourite place in Nova Scotia. I was first drawn to Lunenburg by its views. I saw an online picture of the colourful harbour and thought: “Okay, maybe that’s only one part of the town, the ‘pretty’ part that photographers usually capture, but will the rest of the town really be that beautiful?” I was blown away by how developed Lunenburg is as a travel destination. The town is truly beautiful, with colourful houses, sea creature signs, delicious seafood restaurants that make you want to go back for more (I had the best seafood stew in Lunenburg), and gift shops that will fulfill your every need for souvenirs.

Lunenburg has the power to calm you, whether it’s eating lobster from a balcony overlooking the ocean in the rain or wandering into a gallery and getting invited by the owner to have tea (true stories). We even extended our stay because my boyfriend wanted to go out on a deep-sea fishing trip – I was the only person on the boat that got sea sick and threw up, but it made for a very memorable trip). I am so happy that I discovered Lunenburg, a hidden gem in Nova Scotia. I will definitely go back again and again, and even bring my family there when they come visit.

This road trip has made me realize that it is possible to bring our cat with us when we travel – it’s unusual, but it is possible. This has opened up a lot more opportunities for future travels. More importantly, it grew my appreciation for Nova Scotia. I count myself very lucky to have the opportunity to live and study in such a safe and beautiful place. That out of all the places in the world I ended up in Nova Scotia makes me feel truly feel blessed.

Chuhan Xiao is a fourth year BA Psychology student