Market Gypsy: Making connections

How do you connect? Is connection not what we are all looking for? We can find it through what we wear, what we eat, how we spend our time, through our businesses, with our community and ultimately with whom we believe we are.

At the age of 24, I won ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for the Northwest Territories sponsored by Business Development Bank of Canada. But I did not feel connected to my community or to who I really was. I felt exhausted and full of anxiety. I moved to Red Deer to recalibrate and attend Red Deer College to find my connection. What I found was a whole new world of possibilities that a small aboriginal town did not offer me in the North.

I found anthropology with Shawn Haley, history 334 with James W. Martens studying British pop culture writing about The Sex Pistols and falling in love with Dick Hebdige’s book Subculture: the meaning of style, Canadian history and reading Louise Erich’s Tracks, attending the late Dr. Sproxton’s English classes and obsessed with every class presented by the late John L. Tobias.

I was completely enamored by the written word, by communications, history and other cultures.

When we are given the chance to explore these defining subjects through tangible items, we are then connected and living through those words. I love to cook and source local producers for their products and hear their story whether it is how the animal is raised or how the summer was beautiful but too wet for the garlic. I want to connect to what I eat or who is the steward of the land. Finding a new micro-brewery is fascinating as an opportunity to support farmers and a new generation of brewers. I am always drawn in by their passion and every, “here, taste this one.” It brings me back time and time again, and I don’t even like beer.

I also believe we should sit down and eat together. Sharing stories is primal and such an interesting connection when hearing about folklore or the history of a particular food. Market Gypsy will be just that, an opportunity to share a sense of community through food market finds, creative connections, and understanding a bit of the ‘why.’

About six years ago while at a restaurant, I was introduced to Sharlyn from Hay River. Ya, I know, confusing. I said, “I am Sharlyn from Hay River.” She laughed and said that when I played shortstop in competitive ladies fastball, I was often in the newspaper during the season, her mom saw my name and liked it. End of story. Her mom named her Sharlyn. So, there are apparently two of us here in Red Deer. That was a surprise connection for me.

This platform will be a written adventure to inspire you to try something new or make something old, new again. I want to make Tradition the new cool. I would suppose just saying the word ‘cool’ already voids it for some people but that is OK, I am up for the challenge.

I was part of the organizing committee for two World River Jet Boat Races in Alberta and created one of the first ever river boat poker rallies for non-profit organizations, I am up for the challenge of binary opposition.

We are all connected for one reason or another. I want to find it. I want to support it. I want to showcase it. I want to have Everyday People as part of my soundtrack while I do it too, but with the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts cover version of course.

Sharlyn Carter lives in Red Deer preparing for her second West Coast Trail hike or cooking up a feast. Find her on Instagram @market.gypsy or Facebook – MarketGypsy for more connections.

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