In Emily and I, Jessie and I, Life Is Short, Travel by David131 Comments

Quebec City, 2012.

After an amazing night in Quebec City, wandering around in the fog and snow, we drove to New Brunswick and then to Maine. And when I say we drove to Maine, I do not mean we drove into Maine. We tried. But after 5 hours of questioning, an extensive vehicle search, and a second interrogation, I was told I was being denied entry to the United States of America, because “we have no proof you’ll return to Canada and we worry you’ll try to live here,” which nearly had me on the floor with laughter because, ahem, how do I put this? I like living in Canada. I have no desire to live in the United States. I want to travel the U.S., I want to photograph it, but I have no desire to leave my home. Which, as it turns out, is good, because they aren’t letting me. God knows they wouldn’t want a Canadian stealing the job of a Mexican. I just wanted to visit, man, not invade.

I was finger-printed, photographed, and made to sign transcripts of the interrogation on top of the line that said, “Signature of Alien,” which made me want desperately to sign, “E.T.”, “Mork”, or “Spock.” I couldn’t decide, so I signed my name on the form, and got back into the Jeep, grateful they’d only used the latex gloves while they searched the trunk of the Jeep, and not the trunk of, uh, ahem, me.

And so plans change and life presents new challenges. Last year it was shattered feet, this year it’s a breakdown in the diplomatic process. The reason for my denied entry, not technically a deportation because you have to be in the country before they kick you out and this law-abiding Canadian wasn’t even clever enough to make it that far, was that I have no fixed, verifiable address – a situation I’ve worked happily to free myself from. So instead of Maine, we’re heading to Nova Scotia. And then it looks like we’re hauling our asses coast-to-coast back to Vancouver, to find me a home, generate some paperwork, and get back on track to spend as much of 2012 as I can in the American West. Can’t say I am stoked about driving across this amazing country in the cold and the snow. But we’ll hit some amazing scenery, drive fast through the flat, frozen, parts, and spend time in Banff and then to Vancouver Island where the weather is stormy and amazing. And I’m not going to lie: I can’t wait to see Vancouver again. The home, wherever it is, will be just an office and a place to get my mail, and when I’ve got what Uncle Sam (right now he’s that creepy uncle that tickles too much, but I’ll get over that…) requires, I’ll be right back where I long to be.

So, for all of you expecting me to show up for beer or coffee, I’m going to need a rain-check. Thank you so, so much for you hospitality. I’ll be in touch over coming days. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that adventures never go to plan, and the more easily you roll with changes, the more opportunities you find in the shifts and turns of circumstance. It’s taking me a massive shift to see 2012 differently than I’ve planned it, but Lord am I glad I’m not having to do it from a hospital bed this time. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted. For now I need a decent night’s sleep at this roadside motel, and tomorrow I’ll head to Nova Scotia. Assuming they let me in. 🙂


  1. I’m way behind on this (I was just browsing the site), but what the…?! How would ANYBODY “prove” they intended to return to their country of origin. Good grief. We (yessss, I’m American) are so embarrassing sometimes.

  2. Just because you drive a Jeep doesn’t mean they will accept you. Now if you still had that Defender 90 things may have been different. They would have just waved you on through as they wouldn’t want their border area ruined with puddles of oil.

  3. David,

    I think I know what the issue was. To be let in you need to look like you’ll fit. The border patrol is just trying keep the club hopping. They are like the bouncers at the door. You probably came off a little too Canadian. Here are some tips to get past the USA border goons:

    * Pack on about 175 pounds.
    * When crossing from Canada to USA, be sure your vehicle is full of pot. Going the other way, full of cash.
    * Real Americans don’t tell the US border patrol the truth, they just give ’em the finger.
    * USA flag tattooed on arm, exposed by sleeveless wife-beater shirt. Own it.
    * Try not to sound educated or informed. Most important.
    * Refer to Canadians as “socialist Nazi liberals.”
    * List all the exotic meats you like. Rattlesnake, crocodile, python, etc.
    * Ask the agent what they thought of that idiot Simon Cowell’s comments on Idol last night. Complain about the border patrol letting him in.
    * Reference “john 3:16” as much as possible, but be sure you can’t quote it accurately.
    * Litter your vehicle with empty “super-sized” cups from McDonald’s.
    * Be sure you have Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Glenn Beck on, very loud.
    * Confederate flag on the front license plate holder.
    * Complain about the Muslim president, and ask why he hasn’t been deported back to Kenya yet.

    That should just about do it. You won’t get so much as a blink as they wave you through.

  4. Author

    Albenz – Sorry, but I’m not sure what to say. People aren’t always going to get my sarcasm or irony on this blog. My comment was intended to poke fun at the lunacy of US border policies, on both sides of the country. My point was that while they don’t want non-citizens stealing the jobs of Americans, much of the U.S. is sustained by hard-working immigrants – many of them Mexican. Words are always open to misinterpretation. Sorry if I offended.

  5. Hi David, I’m not Mexican but your comment “God knows they wouldn’t want a Canadian stealing the job of a Mexican” didn’t sound right, you should be careful, people from everywhere are reading what you write…


  6. Actually my cousin had a similar problem. He is from the UK but lives and works in the USA. He decided to fly to Canada to visit some friends. But on returning they wouldn’t let him back in.

  7. What was that joke I heard? If I recall it was something about God apparently having a sense of humour when he put beautiful,pristine almost perfect Canada next door to the United States.

  8. Well without spewing forth my own personal problems with our CBP system, I’ll just say that I’m sorry you were met with such frustrations. I once had the same experience when I was going to Canada with a valid work permit. It was a tense and frustrating 5 hours. It’s quite a shame that as humans we draw such borders against our fellow man. On the other side of that I do see the need for obvious reasons. I’m sure you’ll make the best of it though…..

  9. I’ve been inspired by your work and your spirit. I am totally uninspired by the government of my country. Nuff said.

  10. The US seems to be very good at keeping out talented professionals. I am sorry my tax dollars were used to detour your trip.. bozos!

  11. Hey David, I hope my home state of Washington treats you better when you cross over. Last time I crossed the border here, they were only worried about whether we were bring any prescription drugs back from Canada (but then, I’m American and have home address 🙂

  12. Sorry to hear that, you should go to Brazil, beautiful landscapes to photography, a variety of food and great hospitality!! And it’s summer in some places pretty much all year long 😉

  13. way behind on your blog, david; i’m happy to hear you’re healthy enough to be traveling again.

    there’s nothing dumber than a government bureaucracy. sad but true. and the US congress has been pushing that IQ down year by year for the past decade.

  14. I would like to say unbelievable but having traveled in and out of this country to some rather unconventional destinations in the past, even before 9/11 and the Bush problems, I can only nod my head knowingly.
    Give a guy a badge……
    Anyway, if you make it to Vermont…

  15. Hey David, sorry to hear this, that is rough! I know you will get some great shots in NS and I am looking forward to seeing some wintery scenes from the Rockies.. Drive safe, look forward to meeting you when you arrive in Van!

  16. LOL!!! Good line: “God knows they wouldn’t want a Canadian stealing the job of a Mexican.”

  17. When you go back through the border give them my address and phone number in Seattle. If you have a “permanent” address of someone you are visiting then you shouldn’t have a problem with entry.

  18. FWIW I have mailed protests of your treatment by the US Customs to both my senators and my congressman. I suggest that other US readers do the same. Our Northern border policy has gotten way out of hand.

  19. Hey David – I’m so sorry about your experience. Thanks for giving us Americans grace and rolling with it. Am I the only American who didn’t realize it was this ridiculous? Thanks for opening my eyes to something that has GOT to change!

    Have a great (if unexpected) drive across your homeland!

  20. Oh man! That’s messed up! Well I hope to cross paths with you someday, in the meantime we’ll save a place for ya!

  21. On behalf of all my fellow Americans, please accept my apologies for the moronic behavior by our border patrol. I recently had a chance to spend some time in Quebec City and the Canadian border guards couldn’t have been more professional or more polite. The US border guards, on the other hand, were boorish hard-asses, and I hold an American Passport. The sooner we American’s repeal the Patriot Act and the police state leviathan it set up the better we will be.

  22. I almost got turned away at the Quebec border a couple of years ago-the Canadian Border agent was perplexed as to why a New Mexican who spoke French would pass through that small border outpost “You didn’t drive all the way from NM to come through here?!!”

    Sorry our border agents aren’t so friendly, David. Safe travels across the frozen tundra and we’ll try to keep the American Southwest warm and welcoming for you. Looking forward to that beer!!

  23. David,
    I’m glad that you were able to come up with acceptable options. When first reading about your misadventure at the border on twitter, I was appalled. However, when you fully explain the situation, it makes more sense. A few different times traveling to other countries – not the US (particularly when I was taking a work sabbatical) I’ve had to show my proof of return ticket, my ability pay for my stay etc.

    Best of luck quickly getting it all sorted out. Coming away from Nova Scotia with some excellent images and fond memories will make the experience better. Enjoy the lobsters.

  24. Author

    Thank you, Tyler, for the kind offer!

    Greg, thanks too for the book recommendation, but I don’t trust the publisher. 🙂

  25. I know an outstanding ebook that might interest you: “Close To Home” … Some Stuart Svengali fella, a really great read – Highly Recommended! (Is the Universe telling you something?) ;>)

  26. I’m from Truro, Nova Scotia, if you need anything along the way or have time for a coffee, it would be an honor to meet you. I’m positive the east coast will be very welcoming to you!

  27. Sorry to hear about that, David. As an American, I’m ashamed of the lunacy that runs our government. I’ve had several dealings with Homeland Security here and I’ll be the first to say they’re a bunch of morons. Godspeed in your travels.

  28. I’m gobsmacked. Five stars for not doing an alien impersonation, re ET or the like. Okay, well. Nova Scotia. We’re very kind here. I’ll give you my address, like, for free. You can share it. You want an adddress? It’s yours. That’s how nice we are. If your vehicle breaks down, ten people will stop to help you. I’ll wager a bet on this. Go and shoot in Wolfville. Lots of wineries. Imagine those vinyards in this weathe. Great little town, tons of cool things to shoot. I doubt you’ll go up to Cape Breton but I could be wrong. Whatever you do,enjoy. Oysters. Mussels. Microbrew. Good music. Laughter. Welcome to Nova Scotia, Mork. We heart you.

  29. I’ve lived almost my entire life in Nova Scotia – when it comes to photography, it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Check out the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, or the rocky coast and lighthouses around Yarmouth (my home).

    I hope you enjoy yourself!

  30. On a recent trip for Australia to the US I decided to take a short detour to Whitehorse in the Yukon to hopefully see the Northern Lights (which did I ever – Feb 14) and was surprised at the intensity at the border. Sorry to hear your story and amazed at the paranoia.

  31. Hey David. Unfortunate border experience, but GREAT info for those of us who are planning similar adventures. Onward…

  32. lol David, and LOL at Chris Maskell!
    I flew from Liverpool to Belfast (UK) the other week, and airport security turned out my whole camera bag, and rescanned everything spread out, and then confiscated the “Swiss Army” credit card that I had forgotten was in my wallet!
    They must have known I was running late for my flight!

  33. Oh, and although the Canadian prairies are undoubtedly quite flat, there’s still lots to see and do here. For example, I’d recommend a side trip to Waterton Lakes National Park, southwest of Lethbridge. Beautiful Rockies scenery, great hiking trails, and no touristy stuff like you get in Banff. Today in southern Alberta, the temperature is +7, with a gorgeous blue sky and very little snow. Can’t beat that for February!

  34. Hahahaha. Nova Scotia will be very inviting after that treatment. I’d echo the idea that you continue on to Newfoundland, if you can take the time. Beautiful scenery, and lovely people. Best wishes.

  35. Well David, you say everything happens for a purpose and I guess the purpose is to explore Canada from coast to coast to coast. Lots to explore in Nova Scotia and you gotta go to the Rock for at least a month. May the best of light be with you.

  36. That is amazing, and not in the good way. I just don’t get our immigration policy – we turn a blind eye to the south, but worry about a self-sufficient photographer from the north?

    Hope you get into the west – can’t wait to see the new images. Speaking of which, maybe you will shoot some LF Velvia? 🙂

  37. If it makes you feel any better, the same thing happened to me, twice, in one night, trying to get from Detroit to Windsor.
    Canada denied us, US wouldn’t take us back w/o an official denial stamp so they sent us back to Canada, who denied us again. We were pretty sure we were going to have to live in the Detroit/Windor tunnel like that Tom Hanks airport movie.

  38. Hmm…apparently my comment was deleted. I simply hoped that we all could avoid too much America-bashing. Things are still sensitive here, so some sympathy and understanding is advisable. This is still a GREAT nation, with wonderful people. It is very much worthy of your attention, David, and I sincerely hope that you are allowed back in to continue your explorations.

  39. Steven D please, think about:
    Every nation had his tragedy.
    If you let THEM change you… they won.
    You need to keep calm, and remember that for 3k people that are dead there are millions alive that want to help you and support you.
    PARANOIA is never a solution.

  40. Steven D is right, damn terrorist wrecked everything. As for taking the Mexican’s job in the USA? Didn’t the USA export all the jobs to Mexico? I hear they are not crossing the border as much as before.

  41. David, oh this sounds very very familiar. Any chance you tried to cross at Perth-Andover in New Brunswick? As you know, I am on a similar journey as yours having sold my home in Victoria and left for our year-long trip around North America in June. Because I sold my home, I do not have that connection anymore. However, I changed my official address to my parents address. You really need to have an address in Canada or you run into all sorts of difficulties.

    At the border crossing from New Brunswick into Maine we were made to go inside the building while the border guard went through our truck and our fifth wheel with a fine tooth comb. He only came out with 2 tomatoes,so I guess we were doing ok. We got fingerprinted, had eye scans, and were interrogated. But because my husband and I both have businesses (they were just put on hold, the businesses still exist) and stuff in storage back home, plus our families there (siblings and parents, not children) they decided we had a connection and would return to Canada. We were given a 6 month entry permit. Our 6 months will be over at the end of March and we have filed paperwork to extend our stay a few months longer to complete our one year of travel. We had to fill out a bunch of forms, pay $290, and we will have to file an income tax return with the USA next year to prove we are not earning any money here. We need to get a receipt from the US Government for the forms we filed before March 31st or else we will have to high-tail it to the border. If we don’t make it across in time, they will deny us entry next time.

    Is it my imagination or is this not a good way to treat your best friend? Don’t they want us to spend our money in the USA? I was surprised to have to go through all these hoops for the privilege of staying here longer.

    Anyway, you need to change your address to a relatives, make it look like you are renting a suite there or something. Isn’t your business registered in BC, that should make a difference too.

    We figured we were flagged because we had BC plates and were crossing from New Brunswick into Maine claiming we were going to stay for 6 months, and we are not old enough to be snowbirds, so they were suspicious.

    Maybe the problem was because you were in the US earlier this year. You can only stay 183 days in a calendar year.

    Sorry you had troubles on your second attempt at the journey. That really sucks.

  42. Hey guys, now before you all bag on America too much, you must remember that there are 2,996 deceased New Yorkers who might account for the reason why our borders are so tight. I mean, still, to bar Canadian citizens – doesn’t having had a perm. address the past, oh, thirty-some years of your life, David, count for something? – is still pretty crazy. But let’s not go all gung-ho on how stupid American foreign relations are. It’s pretty tricky here, and those wounds, even eleven years later, are still pretty fresh.

  43. I have to admit to laughing out loud over your wanting to write “ET” “Mork” or “Spock.” Sorry we were so inhospitable though 🙁

  44. Please accept my sincere apologies as an embarrassed US citizen (with Canadian ancestors & relatives). Somehow the loonies (not the Canadian coin kind) has taken charge of our immigration service. We’re not all that paranoid over here.

  45. Wow! David! No kidding about the adventures. I’m glad you’re able to roll with the punches. Otherwise it just gets immensely frustrating. But as you say, you never know what cool things you’ll encounter on your trip out west.

    If you decide to go back to Maine (ever?), here’s a tip. Cross the border at Stanstead. I lived in Maine for a year and would drive between Ottawa and Maine frequently. The border crossing there consists of a little hut. And they were always SO friendly to me. I used to arrive when the same border guard was on duty. When he saw my Bates College parking sticker (where I was teaching) I was instantly his best friend. His nephew graduated from there. So everytime I crossed there, we had a social catch up. I know it means getting to Maine via Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but you’ll see some of the loveliest scenery. The Green Mountains of Vermont are beautiful in spring. Mt. Washington in NH is really cool. And driving throught he White Mountains in fall is stunning! You’ll make some great images there! Maine in fall is beautiful – not just the coast, but inland too. Moose everywhere.

    All the best with your drive out west. Happy Trails and Many Fun Adventures to you. Look forward to reading more posts.

  46. Well, sheesh, I guess the US knows to keep the riff raft out! 🙂 Try passing through Wisconsin…we are much friendlier. Just saying! Oh well. The best laid plans…can tend to go to hell sometimes. Sometimes plan B works out better!

  47. Why stop in NS??

    Why not continue on to Newfoundland. March there can be amazing with the fog, the high winds, the huge waves ….

    And even the ferry ride accross the Gulf could be amazing – unless you are prone to seasickness!

    Whchever way you turn – enjoy!!

  48. This sounds like a very bizarre movie… sooooo stupid… the good news is you will be “needing” to stop in Winnipeg before you begin that “long cold flat journey” and I know the perfect place within 1 km of the expressway around the city where you would be most welcome to rest weary bones prior to the leap across Saskatchewan… I write this tongue and cheek because I have grown to love the prairies… even in the winter… and it has been very mild this year…. our fields are almost snow free this year too…

    Send me an email if you need a warm respite with great food and…
    ( )

  49. David, you were my photo “hero” soon after getting into digital. Listened to all your interviews I could get my hand on and bought several of your books. I tell all my students about your work. I’m sorry to hear what happened and hope you’re back in the US soon – we love and respect you.

    P.S. drop the “God knows they wouldn’t want a Canadian stealing the job of a Mexican”. It’s beneath a the traditionally classy and professional humanitarian you are.

  50. I lived in Turkey for two years. I’ve traveled to Cairo. I live in Europe now. I’m a New Zealander.
    What I can’t believe, as these comments all pop up in my inbox, is that anyone can put a positive spin on this.
    David may handle this with his usual grace and wisdom but no one else should. Surely? Especially Americans.
    It’s America, the land of the free … as per the national anthem. And yet, even when I visited a son’s friend in prison, never ever have I been subjected to 5 hours of interrogation and a vehicle search, and then rejected as a visitor.
    I’m kind of hoping that most people ‘get’ how absolutely wrong this is. A Canadian, a humanitarian photographer, an author, a man who can easily be researched online. A man who already explored the States some, the man who wrote up his plans for this tour … this man can be denied the right to visit a country????
    I’m putting this story out on all of my networks because as wanderers, photographers and intelligent people, I’m sorry to harp on, but this is so wrong. So veryvery wrong.

  51. God forbid that we let anyone as productive as you into our country!

    Think how those of us who live here feel about having our freedom slowly eroded all for the sake of “protecting” us. I fear for the future.

  52. Now that your plan is change, it could be a great opportunity to drive from Nova Scotia to Prince-Edward-Island, it’s great over there. If you need more adventure, you can take the 5hrs fairy in PEI from Souris to Iles-de la-madelaine. It’s an amazing place filled with colorfull small home, a windy landscape and great hospitality. It might be quiet at this time of year. Check it out for your next adventures 🙂

  53. David,
    you have my wholeheartedness sympathy. something similar happened to me about 15 years ago at the canadian/us border. I visited Canada for a day and wanted to get back into the US (holding a greencard at the time and an Austrian passpord).

    After being questioned for about two hours (where I got my greencard from, where I live, what I did for only one day in Canada,…) the officer told me I should go back to my need german village (well, I’m actually austrian) – they finally let me in.

    what is it with those northern border guards? I would strongly vote for a yearly rotation between northern and southern guards…

    good luck, keep the spirits up.

  54. D’uh Border Guards – don’t you just love em.

    So why not apply for a credit card and use a family member or friend’s address (with their permission of course). When the letter comes through… ta da proof you have a Canadian address.

    Alternatively, give up on the US and come, as previously you threatened, to Europe and the UK. Happy to show you around some of the great national parks in the North of England. 🙂

  55. First time i read that. Always i suppose that was only for southern people. Well, at least, we have the rest of the continent to go with our car. 🙂
    David, it´s so “unusual” your experience that sure there is a message within.
    Good luck with that.

  56. Heya David.
    I’m european (italian that’s the case) and after hearing our story I doesn’t know if I want to cry or laugh.
    It’s so stupid that America (a big country with lot of smart people) is becoming so feared and culturally closed to the world.
    What you described it’s like alien language, it’s inimaginable here.
    I’m sad lot of people are makin this world a sad place.
    Return to italy soon, this time please… don’t fall 😀

  57. David – why is it that the strangest experiences make for the best stories? Nova Scotia is an excellent plan B. Spend some time in Cape Breton with the MacMaster family if you can. Hope you make it down the coast to the States soon.

  58. I feel for you!
    While I’ve never been actually refused entry, I’ve been stopped, delayed, “secondary processed” and interrogated regularly. I’ve kept people waiting and almost missed connections… They really can’t get over the fact that we don’t want to live there!!!!

  59. Unbelievable. Did you ask them how a permanent address *in Canada* would help them track you down if you decided to stay indefinitely? :-0

  60. For all I know feeling free or bound has nothing to do with owning a physical address or even real estate, but is just a state of mind.
    So maybe you can get a physical address and still break free from any attachment to places.

  61. The irony of it all, as I read of the suspicion one of the commentators above experienced on trying to enter New Zealand, is that we are talking of the original ‘illegal aliens’ – the colonisers of countries like the States and NZ – cracking down in ridiculous ways. There are so many stories like this, coming out of both countries, that it makes me want to weep. I’m a wanderer who believes in the freedom of movement. It’s a sad day here in my world.

  62. I am in a fury as I read this. I was in the States in 2010 and was stunned and appalled by the ‘welcome’ I received at the border. I’m a New Zealander and had done nothing to deserve the process of entry. I vowed not to return until the paranoia eased there. My Belgian husband refused to come. He knew the limits of his tolerance in terms of being treated to be processed. The terrifying thing, in this, for me is that I believe a lot of Americans may accept this as normal when denying you entry is Kafka on steroids. The lazy border guards only needed to research you a little to be sure. It takes a lot to make me shake in a fury but putting this out on facebook and twitter has done that. I know you will process this with grace and intelligence but I’m still caught up in the shock of it all. Europe is here. You should come on over 🙂

  63. Well, I am very sorry that you are receiveing yet ANOTHER lesson in accepting change. However, I would like to think that perhaps i will get a chance to meet you here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, vancouver, san juan islands or….

  64. David, my girlfriend and I spent three months last year driving coast to coast in Canada, photographing along the way (even in the flat “boring” parts). I suggest you take your time seeing all the wonderful sights in Canada before trying to get back into the US. What we heard from numerous Canadians along the way how much they would love to do the trip we did, so this setback could maybe be the perfect opportunity to get to see every piece of your own country 🙂
    Still, sucks that you didn’t get in, as Europeans it’s hard to imagine not getting into the country next to ours.

  65. Good to see you can keep on rolling after this set-back, even if it’s not in the direction to thought you’d be. But as a prairie boy I must say, don’t blast through the flat, (not-so) frozen parts too fast. Just like an Oreo, the middle’s the best part 😉

  66. David,

    That’s unfortunate. As an American, I don’t quite understand the policy, but I do know that when I went to New Zealand for 90 days (the maximum limit without a visa) they wanted to see evidence that I had a plane ticket to leave.

    I will say that I think it’s smart to have some sort of address, if only for “legal” reasons. I once tramped around the Western US for nine months, living out of my car and photographing and backpacking, and was lucky/fortunate enough that my parents let me use their address as a mail drop and supposed residence. If nothing else it’s good to have someone who has power of attorney to handle unexpected circumstances for you while you’re one the road. I assume you have Corwin or someone else in that role?

    Anyway, keep us informed. Plenty of individual U.S. citizens still want to invite you in, myself included.

  67. Totally bogus David. My country boggles my mind sometimes. Didn’t you technically not have a permanent address last year either?!?!?! Working on a plan that involves donkeys, a modified Datacolor Spyder 3, and 36 yards of tree bark. We can do this. We can get you in.

  68. David, you have my e-mail address…. (hey, wait! maybe customs will accept YOUR e-mail address as your permanent residence…I digress…) Contact me and then send some mail to your name, at my home address, c/o me, and we will be glad to claim you as a resident here, or will be a ‘sponsor’.
    We take in ‘stragglers’ quite often. You don’t even have to visit, but if you do, could you take the dog out for a short walk? and we’ll go visit the outdoor chair manufacturer that you are using on your trip.
    If none of that sounds appealing, all you have to do at our border is say, “No habla Ingles” and you are IN

  69. It’s a bit funny that they think you would want to stay. What Canadian with all the benefits that come along with it would actually want to stay here in the US. Don’t get me wrong, the US is not a bad place to live, but a lot of us would prefer to be in your shoes.

  70. David,
    I’m sorry to hear about your troubles at the border! As a Nova Scotian living away from home though, I just know you will have a wonderful time and I look forward to the photos!!
    If you need any ideas of places to see (or eat!) drop me a line, I’ve got tons of suggestions!
    Enjoy the seafood and the views!! And keep up the great attitude – it’s great to hear!

  71. Shall we all start sending you our addresses in the states? They would be legit and you would be welcome.

  72. I wish they would monitor the southern border as zealously as they do the northern! All this POST-911 paranoia is getting old and way out of control. I’m sick of it.

  73. Earlier today I posted this quote on my twitter feed. Seems even more appropriate now:

    #RobertFrank: America is “really a free country. There is only one thing you should not do, criticize anything.”

  74. The universe must have something else for you to see/learn/understand if it shut that particular door for now. Come to China – I can show you some amazing stuff to photograph. 🙂

  75. Hope you can visit Montreal on your way back to Vancouver. I will like to meet you in person.

  76. Let me add my apologies for the behavior of my embarrassing countrymen. Idiocy.

  77. Hahahaha, good ol’ USA welcome, you, you, you, CANADIAN. If only they knew that you are an Embassador of Good Will, Vision, and Humor. If you do make it across the border, New Jersy may be the next ‘Sanctuary’ state. You’re welcome here any time. Can’t believe Jeffrey couldn’t get you across the border. Enough said. Enjoy your detour.



  78. Now you’re in the system, you may never get into the US again, which is a blessing in disguise IMO lol

  79. Oh geez!! It’s getting a little crazy down here. And what if you did decide to stay? (shaking head)

  80. Amazing! Last year my wife and I were questioned at length as we return back to the USA from a 4 day vacation in Montreal to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I was even questioned on why I was in Kathmandu, as if I was there for some devious purpose!

    It is a pity that it is easier to travel throughout Europe then it is between the US & Canada (well maybe)…

    I’m sure you would have enjoyed Maine, it is one of my favorite places. If you do find yourself in the NYC area at some point, and if you feel like it, give me a shout as we’d love to offer you a home cooked meal…

  81. Yo dude its actually warmer out here in the flat parts ie Calgary than back down there in the East. Get out your sun screen and flipflops…we have hardly had any snow and the high for tomorrow is PLUS 6. There are lots of places to go and things to photograph up this side of the 49th. You should hit the far side of Vancouver Island in time for “storm season”
    All the best as you travel across our great country. :o]

  82. Wow, as usual, you live in the flow. Look forward to reading about your adventure from here…

  83. Unbelievable!

    Getting your scuba card will certainly be colder in Canada than in the keys!

  84. Assuming that ‘everyone wants to live in america’ is laughable. That is not a fact nor one that one should be assumed in general.
    Sorry to hear about yet another land of the free experience, even if it was just with their Homeland folks. Safe travels west … take your time, it’s raining cats and dogs … again/still.

  85. I’d have gone with Mork, myself. I must apologize for the sometimes idiotic antics of my beloved country. Sorry about the stayoutportation! I truly hope the more sensible Western half treats you better. Blessings on your journey, David.

  86. Yes – Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – they understand hospitality. Wish I were going there with you.

  87. I hope your Vancouver office solution goes smoothly! About 4 years ago I was visiting a girlfriend in North Carolina (I live near Vancouver) and was driving to SeaTac to fly out there. The border guard made me raise my hand and read a multi-sentence statement that I would promise to return and I was not going down there to get a job. It seemed pretty ridiculous but I’ll take that over being denied entry. I like living in Canada too – have no desire to move down there!

  88. Feel free to use my address, David. I am Canadian on my mom’s side and live in the States 🙂

  89. Signature of Alien… I gotta say, that made me laugh. Which I guess is all you really can do! Still, photographing Canada coast to coast would be a dream vacation for me so I wish you safe travels and many adventures!

  90. David,
    Since you have not been to the US, you are eligible and more than welcome to enter NS. Stay as long as you want. See ya.
    Stan Mizgala
    Antigonish Photographers Exhibit

  91. Wow. I’m just pretty much speechless. Actually I could come up with a few comments, but they would be less than nice, I believe. So I’ll take the high road. Wishing you good travels across Canada and looking forward to your eventual trip to our difficult and confusing nation.

  92. Just when I thought my experience going INTO Canada was interesting, I read this and realize you had more fun than I did going into the U.S.! I apologize on behalf of the U.S.A. 🙂

    At least you got an amusing blog article out of it all!

  93. Photograph New Brunswick, it’s pretty amazing here! You need to know where to go, but let me tell you.. Our southern coast is simply awesome!

  94. Apologies on behalf of citizens of my country for our idiotic government. We need a new one. 9/11 really did change us, which is what Osama wanted, and that change has denied us the benefit of your presence. 🙁

  95. Nova Scotia will throw you a flippin’ party when you visit, I can be certain of that… not because of who you are, mind you, but because we Nova Scotians LOVE a reason to party 🙂
    IF you do swing through the GTA on your way out west again, drop us a line. Would love to meet up. You can give this transplanted Blue Noser a hint of how God’s country is doing! Safe travels and hope your journey is rewarding no matter where you land!

  96. Sorry to hear that bud. I hope you have a safe trip across the country. If you are stuck in Vancouver for a while we would love to see you and hook up for a beer. Let us know when you are back.

  97. Quite the “adventure”, though not the experience you’d signed up for. Coast to coast across the (somewhat) frozen Canadian landscape might be interesting too. All the best, and keep rolling with the changes.

  98. Well just shit. I won’t utter a word about our north American cousins other than ‘dumb’. Ye there’s immigration policy and there’s just stupidity. Can I tempt you with a trip to the UK, promise we’ll let you in?! Seriously I think I’m more pissed than you, stupid stuff like this makes my blood boil! You’re probably already aware of Chris Guillebeau ( and his non-conformist travels round the word, he’s just started getting deported too so you could share stories!

    On plus side you’ve got Emily and all your stuff (almost certainly including a bottle of Ardbeg?!) so go where your spirit takes you. In Canada that is, lol! Seriously we have Land Rovers, whisky and hospitality in UK – America doesn’t know what it’s missing 🙂

  99. Ouch, that’s bizarre. Reminds me of my wife’s hassles when we went to Nepal a few months ago. We had to change planes in China and because she’s Taiwanese she needs a special permit to go to China, which she doesn’t have and didn’t know she’d need. Of course changing planes in an airport is not the same as visiting the country but the airline check-in staff thought it was and it was only after begging, pleading, arguing and threatening to sue the airline that they allowed her to board. The troubles continued while changing planes and one thing you don’t want is troubles with officials of a communist country. It all worked out in the end though.

  100. Couldn’t you save yourself the cost of an office and use your parents address? You were already living there, anyway.

  101. I’m curious which border turned you away in New Brunswick. As a native NBer I have dealt with each of the crossings in the province and they have all be nothing but annoying. The US border in small towns love to torment people with different license plates. Safe journeys out east.

  102. Sorry to hear that David, yikes! Being a French citizen and a US resident alien (with no intention of ever becoming a US citizen) I can relate. Good luck!

  103. I was so hoping you would have stopped by for some hot South Indian dosas. What a shame! I do hope our paths cross again.

  104. This is quite the bummer! I’m sure that you’ll have a great time in the frozen north! I can’t wait to see the images you create, the places you visite and the new friends you make along the way. Your treck accross canada will either end in a great success or in a great story! Either way, I can’t wait to hear about it!

    Now back to my beer and poker game!


  105. Shut the front door! Wow. How unbelievably unfortunate. If you need help, I have friends with pull in Nova Scotia 😉 See you when you get back to Vancouver.

  106. My husband and l have just returned to Australia after two months driving through the incredible beauty of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan and were very sad to leave. Consider it very much a blessing in disguise and definitely one we envy you. 🙂

  107. LOL… well, the whole world is nuts. Down here in AZ they want anyone who can breathe to come in, and you get turned away… sheesh.

    However, last time I tried to get into Canada (on the way to Vancouver) I spent 3 hours in ‘detention’ because – ahem: I was an “older guy traveling alone and that was a red flag that I wanted to come to Canada and do business.” Do business? Heck, I’m ALWAYS doing business. In the end, they relented because of a blog post they saw where I said I was going to Vancouver to see some beautiful sights and to relax. Yep – they went through my laptop, iPad, and even my phone – read every text I had sent or received that day.

    Weird? Yeah, the whole world has gone nuts.

    BTW – you get down to AZ and I will treat you to the best authentic Mexican food you will ever eat.

  108. Sorry to hear about the deportation. when you come across canada, you need to stop in Thunder Bay, i want to take you ice climbing =)

  109. I am sure this was a frustrating day for you David…and I am sorry to hear you had to go through that with immigration, they can be nasty buggers…but as you say, plans change and you roll with the adventure – and I am sure it will be amazing, even if it’s been shaken up a bit! 🙂 Safe travels and hope to see you in Vancouver soon!

  110. So…. why not park in Nova Scotia and get an address there? Save the trip? Experience the east coast of Canada?

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