Lucette Hachey Laskey and Caroline Benoit set themselves an unusual 2021 resolution: by the end of the year, they aim to walk three kilometres in every city, town and village in the province.
The Francophone Sud elementary school teachers, who call themselves Les TRIPeuses Trotteuses, began their quest as a way to stay motivated and improve their mental health, said Hachey Laskey.
In 2020, they walked every street in the city of Dieppe, colouring in the streets on a map until they were done, she said. They completed over 1,000 km of walking by May after signing up for My Time: A Great Canadian Running Challenge, and continued walking hundreds of kilometres more in the second half of the year.
As 2020 drew to a close, the pair began soliciting ideas from their social circles to set themselves a fun challenge for 2021 before settling on this goal, Hachey Laskey said.
While the province was in the orange phase of pandemic recovery, all their exploring was done in their home turf of southeastern New Brunswick.
The pair document their adventures in both English and French on their Youtube channel, often arranging to meet up with someone who knows the area well who will walk with them and tell them things about a place they wouldn’t have discovered on their own.
At the age of 40, it's great to be still learning about the many places they visit, some very close to home, Benoit said in French. There have already been chances to put pieces together of things she read in books about Acadian history with specific landmarks, for instance, she said.
Benoit said she also likes the fact that they feel immediately fulfilled as they engage in these adventures, and that the stress-free activities don’t feel like a chore.
In the last couple of weeks they have checked out Port Elgin, Riverview, Sackville and Shediac, said Hachey Laskey. Salisbury and Petitcodiac will be their next videos.
Benoit, a grade five teacher at École le Marais, said she has been sharing their adventures with her students, as they talk about accomplishing goals.
“I feel like a role model,” she said.
Hachey Laskey said motivating others to accomplish their goals and get active is a big part of what they hope to accomplish, adding that people have already been sending them messages indicating their videos are doing just that.
“We love travelling. We love laughing,” said Hachey Laskey, and this quest allows them to do a whole lot of both, even if they are doing it a little closer to home than usual.
There are so many places generally known for one thing, but the communities offer much more, said Hachey Laskey.
Dorchester, she said, has so much more than a jail, and Salisbury has so much more than the Big Stop. Their adventures are allowing them to see all these communities have to offer and share it with others, she said.
“People have been very generous with their time,” said Hachey Laskey, adding that sometimes it is local councillors who show off the community, while at other times it is residents who simply love their home town.
Hachey Laskey said they will pause their adventures while the region is in the red phase of COVID recovery.
Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal