Jen Meza has the pandemic and her former employer to thank for seeing Nova Scotia with fresh eyes.
With the extra free time she had after being laid off by WestJet due to COVID-19, not only did the would-be author get out and travel around the province at the outset of the pandemic, but the former airline worker created a bestselling book from her adventures.
“I always loved travelling,” said Meza, who notes the idea to author the book arose after the initial COVID-19 lockdown prevented travel outside the Atlantic Bubble. “I just wanted to create a journal and then I thought what better opportunity than now for Nova Scotians to explore their own backyard.”
As such, Meza drafted the Our Best N.S. Adventure Journal. A 180-page book that allows explorers and adventure seekers to document their travels across Nova Scotia, Meza’s creation became a hit right out of the gate, shooting onto Amazon’s bestsellers list overnight.
“I think it was a bright light for a lot of people,” replies Meza when asked why the book struck such a chord immediately with readers. “It was really a chance for Nova Scotians to have something good, to encourage other people to get out there and put money back into their own economy and explore the province.”
Largely a journal to record outdoor adventures and experiences, Our Best N.S. Adventure Journal also includes ideas for escapes as well as a list of 10 inspiring day trips around the province.
“There’s really something in there for everyone, whether you’re a family or just a single person,” says Meza, who admits one of her favourite day trips is heading to the Annapolis Valley to enjoy the hikes, lunch at a winery and visit the Tangled Garden in Grand Pré. “There’s a tearoom in the garden where you can stop and have tea or a glass of wine — it’s just a cool place to check out and walk around.”
As well as motivating people to go exploring once travel restrictions ease, the book can also play a role in maintaining one’s mental health. With the lockdown and more than a year of social isolation caused by COVID-19, Meza says the need to get out and explore nature is more important than ever for Nova Scotians.
“I think it’s really important to get out there, get into nature and explore,” adds Meza. “For me personally, it really helps my mental health when I get out there. I definitely have a new appreciation for nature since March of last year, that’s for sure.”
That is also one of the reasons that Meza has decided to donate a percentage of the profits from book sales to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.
“I just feel like there needs to be more awareness brought to (mental health) and support people who are struggling,” says Meza, who adds one her family members has also struggled with mental health issues and that obtaining help can prove to be challenging.
“I think especially hard right now, more people than normal are struggling with the lockdown and the virus, so I just wanted to be able to give back to Nova Scotians and back to a cause that is really important.”
For more information on Our Best N.S. Adventure Journal, visit Jen Meza’s website.