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Maine is Cool

It was perhaps a very fortunate turn of circumstance that Chaya was born and raised in northern Maine.

She could just as easily be from such a forsaken land as New Jersey — then what would I have done?

Leaving the Middle East for the deep woods and rocky coasts of Maine is a much different proposition than temporarily halting my roving feet in some industrial no-man’s land or vacant-faced suburb on the lee side of the USA.

Tattoo of the state of Maine — it is my impression that there are only three US states that a person can rightly get a tattoo of without risking being overtly corny: Alaska, Texas, and Maine

For the lack of a more sophisticated adjective: Maine is cool.

Really, Maine is not the worse place on planet earth that I could have been hamstringed back to. Maine is not bad.

Maine has character. Even the doctors and lawyers are prone to sporting big bushy beards, well worn khakis, and dirty sweatshirts. And the folks who are not in the woods considering the lilies are in the grand minority.

People of northern Maine

I must admit that I am a little hesitant to fully open my eyes here, least I may find a joyful glimpse of a welcoming tether to leash myself to. Maine is perhaps a dangerous place for a free booting traveler.

When Chaya announced in the Middle East that it was time to go home, I did not even cringe. “I like Maine,” was my only response, though I was not foolish enough to voice it. I cannot say that the prospect of a cool and moist summer in a place on the outer fringe of planet earth did not seem inviting.

Maine is a break from the world: a long awaited rest stop on the traveler’s highway to Elsewhere: a place to piss when you really need to go: a land full of good people living the good life. I am convinced that there is an invisible fence that encircles northern Maine — on the inside is here, on the outside is everywhere else in the world.

The only people who seem to stay in or come to Maine are the people who love it. The angsty kids who grow up here with furrowed lips simply leave — maybe they go to Boston or NYC just to realize how good home was — and the people who move here find a refuge from whatever faceless suburb it was that spawned them.

It is good to be in a place with people who like being here. It seems to me that the people of northern Maine know that they have found one of the best watering holes on planet earth . . . or at least this is my impression as I tick these words out to oblivion while glancing out of the window at the cheerful strollers and power walkers frolicking by in the all too temporary sunshine.

These Maine people smile as they walk down the street, they say hello to everyone who passes. This place is something special.

Maine is now entering into its annual two months of t-shirt weather and the streets, hiking trails, and coasts are full of happy people. They sort of make me happy, too.


I think I will wait this one out with geese — when they leave, I will be on their tail to some southern Elsewhere.

Sign for a contra dance in Maine

Contra dance band in Bangor, Maine

Contra dancing

Friends in Maine

Vagabond Journey in Maine
Contra Dancing in Maine
Two Vagabonds Lobby the US Congress

Maine is Cool

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Filed under: Maine, North America, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Ulladulla, AustraliaMap