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Sara La Selva

After graduating from the Acting for Film and Television program this year, Sara La Selva immediately embarked on a new adventure. Sara talks about her Canadian cross-country journey project, the amazing people she's met, her blog chronicling the project, and what inspired her to take this trip.

What was the inspiration for this project? What compelled you to take this huge journey?

I started a production company last year, Paddle and Pine Media, and was inspired by the artists I was meeting from around Canada, and the conversations we were having about the experience of artistry in this country and what inspires [artists] to continue to pursue art. Road tripping across the country was always something I wanted to do, but what better time to bring these two things together than when artists are sharing their honest work and reflections for Canada’s 150th anniversary! It seemed too much like kismet for me to do anything other than jump in!

What drew you to social media aspects of the project? Do you feel there is untapped potential to use social media as a medium for artistic projects?

Community is unbelievably important to me both in my artistic practice and my experience as a person in the world. Social media is a phenomenal way to grow your community, find and contribute work, and be able to share the actual process of what you are creating. You have a direct response from an audience you would have never otherwise had the opportunity to interact with. Artists today, particularly young ones, know that social media in some form is a necessity to the success of their practice, but not everyone knows how to use it optimally. So yes, I think there is definitely a lot of untapped potential for artists to use social media to the advantage of their craft and themselves!

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome so far on this journey?

Connectivity was an enormous challenge for me. Take for example New Brunswick, a province with only 15% of its area developed. Forget Wi-Fi, at that point you’re lucky if you get signal! So going on a solo trip this big means that using social media and other ways to connect are paramount to maintaining a sense of motivation! However, I wouldn’t trade the time without my phone and signal for anything!

What kind of people have you met on this trip so far?

What started out as a journey to explore artists became so much more than that. It turned into an exploration of the people who live across the country! I’ve met a host of independent artists, retirees crossing borders to retrace their family history, small communities protesting their town infrastructure with handmade signs, young medical professionals, government workers, women business owners and world travellers, and more people in the service industry than I could count. (P.S. Tip your servers.) I did my best to go into this trip with an open heart, and what I received was openness in return and wonderful people I won’t ever forget.

What reactions have you gotten from social media followers observing your trip so far?

It’s funny because the reaction from people on social media has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve made friends with other solo travellers and couples who are also travelling around Canada, and we live on the life motto that you should “stay stoked” for whatever comes, so in real life when I meet acquaintances or strangers who ask me what I’m doing, and I receive a lot of concern and questioning, it takes me aback. I forget how different the perception of travel is between generations, and I hope that by sharing this project I encourage others to take healthy risks, make big choices, and go after what they’re passionate about–especially young women.

What have you learned so far? At this point, do you have a better idea of what it means to be Canadian?

I’ve learned that Canada is a very complex place, and we all need to do our part to make things better. I’ve learned that people overall want better for our country, and that with a little compassion, risk, and commitment, we can make a real difference. We have the power and obligation to.

How did your time at Humber prepare you for what you’re doing right now?

If I hadn’t gone to Humber I don’t know if I would have had the personal motivation to make this trip a reality. Not only did the Acting for Film and Television program allow me to explore risk taking, following impulses, and the value of art in the world, the instructors and supporting staff were so genuinely supportive and encouraging of me following my passions that I knew I had to make it happen. I am unbelievably thankful to Humber for the time I spent there!

Would you recommend others undertake a cross-country trip?

Absolutely! Whether it’s this country or another, solo or with a friend, travel is as necessary to life for me as art is. Go on that trip! See the world! Take risks! You won’t regret it.

To find out more about Sara’s Paddle and Pine project, visit the Paddle and Pine website, or follow Sara’s travels via Twitter @PaddleandPine, on Instagram @PaddleandPine, or on Facebook @PaddleandPine