About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Hub of Nova Scotia

For anyone who has been to the east coast of Canada, they would know that one must pass through Truro, Nova Scotia to get to the rest of the province. We had not planned on spending much time there, but remember, spontaneity brings out the best stories.

After we left our friend Blair in PEI, he told us about an Aikido Master, Andrew who lived in Truro and that we should go and check out his dojo. We were curious about Aikido, so we asked Blair a little more about it. Let me tell you, it sounded like something worth checking out.

Aikido was founded by a Japanese man named Morihei Ueshiba who had a goal to create an art that people would use to defend themselves, while also protecting their attacker from injury. So for a bunch of guys who are pretty against the whole violence thing this world uses so much, this sounded like something cool to check out.

When we got to Truro, we went to the dojo, but no one was there. Blast. Next door was a hockey card shop, so we went in and asked if we could use the phone to call the numbers on the dojo window. After chatting to the kind shopkeep for a while, we asked if he had anything for us to do around his shop. He said he didn't, so we searched for a hockey card to buy as a memento. Since we couldn't agree on a player epic enough, the owner offered us a Gretzky card that we could just have! We thanked him and thought of what we could do for the rest of the afternoon while we waited for someone to show up at the dojo. Word on the street was that someone would be around at 6:30...

We passed a grocery store, and figured it was time to utilize the barbecue we had been carrying around with us. After picking up a bunch of hot dogs, buns and condiments, we went to Victoria Park, hoping there would be some folks around for a free barbecue.

The Master Chef himself!
Between the skate park, tennis courts, playground and general path traffic, we had an awesome time hanging out with the lovely people of Truro. We played basketball, had some music going and obviously enjoyed food together. A bunch of kids came from the skate park, and showed us some crazy tricks including front flipping 7 of us lying in a row.

It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon and another exciting moment was when our friends from the Truro Police Department showed up.  They asked us if we were "offering food to children" as they had received some calls. We had a great chat about what we were up to and they gladly let us proceed with our little party (and even signed our guest book!).

Wanna race?
We ended up back at the dojo for 6:30, not knowing what to expect. Looking for Sensei Andrew, we walked into the dojo and met one of his top students Shane. We told him what we were up to, and who sent us (Blair). We then proceeded to get a lesson in Aikido and started to learn more about its roots and philosophies.

After learning some hardcore rolling techniques, Sensei Andrew came through the door and greeted us with the most firm handshake any of us have ever experienced in our lives. He then demonstrated high level Aikido with Shane and it. was. awesome. As he subdued his fake enemy, he showed us how at any moment he could toss a powerful knee to the stomach, elbow to the face or even break an arm. It was fascinating that the art was about bringing the opponent peacefully down to the ground with no injury.

Here's a little blurb from wikipedia, "The term aiki (as in AIKIdo duh) refers to the martial arts principle or tactic of blending with an attacker's movements for the purpose of controlling their actions with minimal effort." And that's exactly what it looked like during their demonstratoin. It was so much easier to control the attacker than it was to just hit them back. It was very refreshing.

After the demonstration we chatted for almost an hour in the dojo about our trip, the world and our place in it. I could go on for a while about it, but will leave you with the quote that Sensei Andrew left in our guest book. 

"Life is a daring risk, or nothing at all." -Helen Keller

There is a lot of truth to that statement and think about what it would mean for a woman like Helen to say that! I guess I would encourage us all to take more risks in life, as I have found that the best stories and moments in life show themselves when there is something on the line.

Dylan, Jeremy, Shane, Sensei Andrew, Jordan, Calvin
If you want to learn more about Aikido, which I recommend, click here.

So Truro was unexpectedly awesome. Oh the joys of being on the road!

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