You know that saying about how grass is always greener on the other side? Well it resonates with me this week because I have been enjoying a summer of discovery here in Manitoba’s Interlake region — and loving it. I am truly appreciating how good we have it here in Manitoba.
Before I started doing travel writing, I had always hoped for the day I would no longer call Manitoba home. I thought the grass was greener on other side — because British Columbia has the ocean (and many other wonderful things), Hawaii (particularly Maui) has everything I like — perfect weather, natural beauty, an abundance of fragrant flowers, humpback whales, great snorkelling, wonderful beaches and serenity — etc, etc.
No, this isn’t BC or Hawaii. It’s Camp Morton, Manitoba, right here in the Interlake and not more than 30 minutes from where I live.
It seemed I was always singing praise for the attributes of everywhere — but home. Until I started travelling for a living and came to realize how expensive it is to live in other places, how unsafe it can be (whether because of natural disasters, crime or political unrest) and how much my own friends and family who have moved away really miss this place. After all, we are friendly Manitoba. People here really care about one another. For the most part, we are not a selfish bunch, but rather, a populace of giving people who volunteer more than any other region in Canada. That says a lot about our residents. We care enough to give our time, our money, our hearts to a cause. The same cannot be said for many other Canadian jurisdictions. And yet, Canadians as a whole are indeed a giving bunch. So the fact that Manitobans top the heap says a lot about what makes our province such a special place to live.
If you are from Manitoba, you know what I mean. If you used to be a Manitoban, but now live somewhere else, you probably know what I mean even more. We are a place that is seldom chosen as a destination for travel — unless to visit family or friends who live here. Yet, those trips are often the best trips of many people’s lives. It is the richness of the relationships that makes us a wealthy location. We may not have the highest per capita incomes or the most dramatic scenery, but we have the biggest hearts and the widest shoulders. We understand the true meaning of friendship, loyalty and loving our fellow man (or woman.) We are real in every sense of the word. And I’ve come to appreciate that.
Hats off to the folks who came up with the Manitoba Homecoming 2010 program, which has brought many more Manitobans home for a visit this year than most. More info at: http://www.manitobahomecoming2010.com/. It’s been great having you all here. Come back and see us again soon. And if you’re really smart … you’ll come back to stay.