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When Millville resident Lynn Ivey decided to accompany her daughter on a cross-Canada trip by car, she had no solid plan for returning home. What she did know was that she would be returning by air.
In mid-November Ivey and her daughter Haley set out to travel from province to province on route to Alberta. The goal throughout the six-day journey was to reach Grande Prairie in time for Haley to start her new job as a public health inspector.
The mother-daughter duo was excited about the trip. They never really talked about driving across the country so when this opportunity came up, they thought it would be an adventure and decided to go for it.
“Driving Haley’s car meant that she would have a vehicle with her to use when she was there. She also wanted to take her cat Tig with her, so driving just made the most sense,” Ivey explained.
Concerned about COVID-19, the Iveys made certain to map out their trip before leaving. When it came to planning their itinerary, they would be sure to stop in lesser populated areas and only stay in one location for as long as necessary.
While she didn’t have a concrete plan to return home, Ivey said she knew coming back could prove to be challenging due to the ongoing pandemic. However, she felt it was worth the uncertainty to make sure her daughter was comfortably relocated and secure in her new position and city.
“I knew I would be staying for a while because I wanted Haley to be settled in before I left,” said Ivey. “She is 26 years old and while she’s lived on her own before, it’s never been so far from home. It was important for me to be with her and know that she was OK before I came back home.
“After a few months staying with Haley, I saw that she was doing well. She was adapting to her new surroundings and her new job. She was getting very comfortable there and was starting to make new friends and socialize.
“I decided then that it was time for me to let her make her own 'new normal' and began planning to return home.
“It took some time to get a ticket home because the prices were fluctuating so much. I did get one, but I had to book a month in advance in order to get a decent rate.
“When I realized I wasn’t going to get home for at least another month, I decided that Haley and I should have as many experiences together as we could while I was in Alberta. We travelled to Jasper and saw the Canadian Rockies, I was even lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.”
In mid-March, confident her daughter was doing well, Ivey boarded the plane back to Cape Breton.
She said she was a little nervous to fly in such close proximity to others, but when she got to the airport and saw how well they were dealing with sanitization and social distancing, she felt a sense of relief.
“The plane ride home was fine. Every second seat on the plane was empty, so I really wasn’t that close to anyone. There was all kinds of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to use if we felt we needed it.”
Ivey arrived home a few weeks ago and immediately had to isolate.
“I went to my home in Millville and it felt lonely because nobody was there. It struck me that even though I was back home in Cape Breton, things weren't exactly back to normal.
“My daughter Carly was visiting from Halifax and she and my husband Ronnie stayed with my mother in North Sydney.
“It took a few days to get comfortable being home. I used the isolation time to rest up and get some things done around the house. I am happy that Haley is doing well, I talk to her every day. I can now get out and spend time with my family and am catching up with my friends.”
Despite what they went through to accommodate the travel restrictions and COVID-19 protocols, Ivey said from start to finish the experience was memorable.
“I really liked being in Alberta. Haley is living in a lovely apartment in a really nice neighbourhood — it's beautiful there. The people were very nice, I even ran into a couple that I knew from North Sydney. It really felt a lot like home,” Ivey noted.
Sherry Mulley MacDonald is an author and freelance journalist. She is a lifelong resident of the Northside with an affection for the community in which she lives.