We are a generation of activists, of change makers, of people cheated by those before us, but never forget that we are full of hope and desire to save the wonderful places that make our home, home. To want to save this place, we have to get to know it first. You can’t do that overhead by plane, and certainly can’t do it rushing by highway. It’s the train that offers a unique opportunity to immerse fully into the places and communities of this land, passing through at a leisurely pace, in some areas still untouched by the greedy hands of development. With frequent stops that can humble you, by needing to ask for directions in a small town with no cell service, by having to walk the streets of the cities along your route without access to a car for quick landmark-to-landmark transportation, by seeing what this great north is, by immersing yourself, slowly in its veins, we develop a compassionate relationship with it that is too tender and intimate to ever be torn from our souls. This is a gift, given to us by rail, an opportunity to see more, to do more, to be more for this wonderful place…
Welcome aboard Arrive Early, Expect Delays this hand-bound multi-media chapbook encompasses our experience spending a month living on the railway. Travelling across Canada by train in July of 2017, as the nation turned 150 and we, as young artists, were beginning to peek out of the honeymoon phase of adult-hood-proper — a travel with 3998 of our peers on a once-in-a-life-time $150 youth pass — we welcome you to join us and toy playfully with our evolving generational identity in this country. This chapbook is a mixture of personal essays by Shimshon Obadia, poems by Em MacMillen, and video art woven throughout by both of us that we have used to colour an exploration of the notoriously vague millennial-Canadian through place(s) along these historic steel rails. By way of our words and by way of our sights, we invite you to look out the windows of this train and be transported across the country. En route, we have endeavoured to create a back and forth that captures the breathtaking experience of travelling coast-to-coast while subtly questioning what the concept of “Canada” is for us in this new generation coming of age and inheriting her stewardship in the way every young adult knows best; through well-planned aimless adventure.
For more from Em MacMillen, visit their website.
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