Hi! Nice to meet you! My name is Leah Noble. I grew up in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and was based there until I moved to North Sydney in 2013. (My parents are from Ohio and Quebec originally, and settled on Cape Breton in the 1980s, and have been here ever since. I was born in BC and have been a Cape Bretoner since I was one.) Both of these towns are on the island of Cape Breton. I live with my boyfriend Adam and our collection of houseplants in a house on a quiet street overlooking the harbour.
I started this blog in January 2012 because I absolutely love Cape Breton Island, where I grew up and live, and I was sick and tired of how discouraged I felt about living there.
I was twenty-eight. I had been blogging for nine years at that point, on my personal blog, “huminbean“. I was really inspired by the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement and by bloggers Elise Blaha, Kal Barteski and Elsie Larsen and Emma Chapman, who write about their daily lives but who also make things, make art, and who write about and show such love for the communities they live in. (California, Winnipeg and Missouri, respectively.)
I felt like Cape Breton, my beloved home, could use some blog love, beyond what I was already doing with my personal blog. So I started this one.
I wanted to use it as a space to explore how I and other young people felt about this place. I wanted to ‘take back’ the ‘narrative,’ to put it in academic terms. I wanted to use the smart phones and computers we all use nowadays to show what life is like here. The whole thing, good, bad and ugly. Not just the tourist stock images that are used to promote the island as a destination, and not just the depressing statistics about unemployment and youth outmigration, although both of those are part of the whole picture, too.
I started this blog because I wanted to show my view, what I see every day, and for it to be out there, on the Internet. To tell my own story. To tell that of others. To make the island stronger and more connected as a result.
At the beginning my goal was to make the blog posts roughly 50% about me and 50% about the island (history, interviews, etc) but after a year or so I realized this wasn’t inspiring me anymore, plus I didn’t have the amount of time to do the interviews that I had had when I started the blog. I felt disappointed in myself, but then I decided to make a change.
So now the blog is mostly about me. But it’s also still very much about the island, because that is where I live, and because I am still very much interested in the issues that affect everyone here, and interested in figuring out how I can make a difference in my community. I’m still interested in how we all can be more active citizens and create the community we dream about. That’s why it’s called “Dream Big.”
But it’s mainly about my own personal big dreams (and small, daily moments), because that’s what I’m super excited to share, day after day. I went back to school when I was 28, and am currently a Graphic Design student at NSCC. In summer 2013 I released my first product for sale, the “I Heart Cape Breton” postcards. You can find out more about them here.
I’m also in love with a wonderful man and excited by the simple joys of making a home together, and of the adventure that is being part of a committed lifelong couple.
I believe in love, red wine + chocolate, the ocean, open fields, beach rocks, and dancing.
I’m so glad you stopped by to check out my little corner of the Internet. You can connect with me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by joining the Facebook group.
Want more? Here are some of my favorite posts, that talk a little more about my blog and what it means to me personally:
- “Here we go” – the very first post (January 2012).
- “Moonlit mornings, and the project so far” – my thoughts on silence and balance, and how Cape Breton’s history and wilderness can soothe my tired mind (Feb 2012).
- “On Intuition, Creativity and Following a Hunch” – (March 2012) How this blog evolved from a letter to the editor.
- My speech for the Youth Social Enterprise Boot Camp, given in late March 2012, in which I talk about self-confidence, calling myself a “writer” in public, and the positivity I see all around me, on this island.
- This post is my “first quarter report” – some things I’ve learned in the first four months of this project.
- This post includes a video of me giving a short talk for the “Ideas Powered by Passion” series in Sydney, about this blog. (Video runs 6:31.)
- This is a radio interview with me that was broadcast on CBC Cape Breton’s Information Morning show in June 2012. (Runs 8:43.)
- This is a video of a talk I gave at a backyard “lecture series” about kindness, cruelty, community and compassion. (Video runs 11:09.)
- This post is from December 2012, almost a year after starting the blog. Some thoughts on patience, creating change, and the evolution a creative project has to go through.
- This post is from August 2013, where I decide to focus more on my own thoughts and photographs and random life, and less on Q+As and guest posts. (A creative project is always evolving, and that’s a good thing.)
- This is radio piece about me that Alyce MacLean did for Mainstreet Cape Breton in April 2014 as part of her series on young people making a difference on Cape Breton.
- This is an article in the Chronicle-Herald newspaper (Cape Breton Edition) by Erin Pottie about this blog, that ran May 6, 2014.