There's a trick that mapmakers have played on millions of Americans without them even realizing it. Generations of schoolchildren have grown up seeing the familiar map of the United States in their classrooms, a map that showcases the continental 48 states and then has Alaska and Hawaii in little boxes down in the bottom-left corner. Because these maps are designed to focus on the USA, they put the state of Maine in the northeast corner and cut off the edge of the map at the Canadian border. It's very easy to forget that the landmass of North America doesn't end with the state of Maine, and in fact extends some distance further to the east. There's a whole additional timezone (Atlantic time) that most Americans don't even know about, not to mention the bizarre Newfoundland timezone another half hour (not a full hour!) further east than that. I wanted to push beyond the borders of that familiar map and see what lay on the other side, and that meant a trip to the Atlantic provinces of Maritime Canada.
This was the first extended roadtrip that I planned and successfully carried out by myself. As a graduate student in a doctoral program at the time, I took every measure possible to cut down on costs, carrying out this weeklong vacation on a shoestring budget. I drove my own car and stayed in hostels each night, while limiting myself to inexpensive attractions that didn't carry much of a sticker price. With that said however, I was still able to enjoy a fantastic trip from start to finish, one that took me from the crashing waves of Acadia National Park to the Citadel defenses of Halifax to the windswept empty cliffs of Cape Breton. I visited the capital city of three different Canadian provinces and laid the groundwork for an even bigger trip through Eastern Canada a few years later. Read on for the sights and sounds of my trip through Maritime Canada.