A Realtor Walks Into a Barn... and Ends up in Greenland

How would you react if you won a trip to the Arctic? A realtor from Collingwood, Ontario is one of the lucky few who knows the answer to this question firsthand. Hear more about her life-changing experience on an expedition from Iceland to Greenland.
Marcia Greenland

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Barns are magical places. Aside from the myriad of gadgets adorning the weathered walls, rustic charm, and ambiance, did you know they also have secret portals that can take you through time and space? We didn't either!

Marcia Alderson and her team from Royal LePage, Collingwood found this out at the Farms for Change event that they help sponsor. At these events for the past ten years, leading chefs, restauranteurs, and patrons have gathered at The New Farm, an organic, family farm near Creemore, Ontario, to create amazing dishes from local, farm fresh ingredients served alongside craft beverages and music.

Adventure Canada and our Taste of Place Program share these same values, and this brought us to the 2019 event as a sponsor, where we auctioned up a trip for two on In the Wake of the Vikings: A Voyage from Iceland to Greenland, in support of Community Food Centres Canada.

New Farm

Guests passing by the Adventure Canada Taste of Place booth enjoying some organic food at The New Farm

With the anticipation for Sam Roberts Band driving the barn's crowd to a frenzy, Marcia and her co-worker Leanne Matthews jumped straight into the bidding. “I figured we’d just get the auction underway, I never imagined we’d win!”

But win they did, with Marcia exclaiming, “What did we just win and where are we going?” Wow! We knew immediately that we had found a winner, too, because that’s the spirit that Adventure Canada welcomes and thrives on. We love when folks jump in with enthusiasm!

Giveaway winner

© Victoria Polsoni

Adventure Canada co-founder Bill Swan announcing the auction winners at The New Farm

Fast-forward one month and that barn portal, with some help from the Ocean Endeavour, transported Marcia and Leanne to a reconstructed Viking homestead at Qassiarsuk, Greenland.

(I told you barns were magical.)

Marcia’s Experience Through the ‘Travel Portal’

In a recent conversation with Marcia, she shared her recollections of discovering Adventure Canada and her impressions of her first experience as an expedition traveller.

“It was good fortune that we met at Farms for Change," Marcia says. "It’s one of the toughest tickets in town to get, that’s for sure, but we were there for the third time as an event sponsor for a great cause. My personal understanding and participation in local food, local economies, and food security has been growing, so it’s an event that resonates for me. Looking at the planet right now, there’s need for change.

I had not heard about Adventure Canada’s Taste of Place program, but that’s one of the great things about the event—meeting like-minded people and organizations, and the interesting projects they are working on. So many people are growing the local food scene—it is exciting!”

Marcia Alderson

Marcia listening to historical interpretation from Callum Thompson in Hvalsey, Greenland

“As I look through my Trip Log from In the Wake of the Vikings: A Voyage from Iceland to Greenland, so much comes back to me and it is amazing to relive how much change happens in one’s perspective over the eleven days of travel.

From the first day everyone, and I mean everyone, was so welcoming—from Adventure Canada’s Host, Expedition Staff, fellow travellers, to the ship's crew. The vibe was warm and inclusive, the community started coming together right away—I had never experienced it to this level on the many other ship trips I’ve been on. Such a great way to start!

Before getting to Iceland it was a whirlwind, with less than a month from that auction in the barn to getting to the Ocean Endeavour, so I did not have a long time to prepare and this may have heightened the impact. I arrived knowing little—a blank slate and an open mind is how I would describe it.

The wealth of knowledge in the Expedition Team was more than capable of filling that slate though. They were accessible and very approachable. The Viking homestead was a prime example—all the experts were stationed throughout the site and interpreted this amazing place from their particular area of expertise. It was like having every expert you could want at your fingertips with each new encounter.

Camaraderie, Music and Adventurous Learning in New Lands

"Being a musician, I was impressed by how much music we experienced and participated in. Charlie and Nive Nelson were an absolute delight.

And the Zodiacs! Those craft are amazing and in the hands of talented and knowledgeable drivers. They give you the most magical perspective—you are on the water level and right up close. With the small group size it feels more personal and fun."

In search for wildlife in zodiac

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

In a search for the wildlife, one of the daily Zodiac rides

Travelling with Purpose

Our conversation with Marcia also touched upon sustainability and the concepts of an intentional traveller, or a traveller with purpose.

Adventure Canada believes deeply in travel with purpose—in travel where the host is as important as visitor. We believe that travelling with purpose can change our perspective and our actions both while travelling and back at home. There’s a worldwide concept of Regenerative Tourism developing that incorporates these values and practices.

“I really felt the importance of the way we arrived in communities and wild places, the impact we had in the communities and on the land. The respectful and informed approach Adventure Canada uses and prepares us with are so well planned and executed, it made it a joy and easy to participate."

Marica and leanne

Marcia and Leanne enjoying a coffee together in Greenland

"This type of travel in these amazing places—it changes you. I came away with a greater appreciation and understanding of the Arctic and the people there. I really see the value in this type of travel and people are responding to it. I’m very glad I jumped on this opportunity. This is my mode of travel from here on in.

I am super excited to have booked my place on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation in 2021. I’ve always wanted to go there and travelling like this will be amazing. Please tell me that [Expedition Leader] MJ Swan will be doing the morning wake up call!”

For now we’ll have to keep the morning wake-up call announcer a secret. What we were able to tell Marcia for certain was that she’ll be eating well with the Taste of Place program on this expedition and that bringing her amazing singing voice and big heart to share with all the Newfoundlanders and their love for music will be a hit.

Now to find the barn with a portal to Newfoundland inside…

About the Author

Bill Swan

Bill Swan

Partnerships & Sustainability

As a co-founder of Adventure Canada, Bill remains awed and deeply appreciative of the amazing next generation of his family that makes the company what it is today.

This admiration includes the extended ‘family’ of passionate, intelligent, and inspiring expedition staff and the guests who travel with us on these outstanding expeditions. Forging new partnerships, developing and launching the Taste of Place food program, and Adventure Canada’s regenerative plan are his current assignments.