Nfld. & Labrador

How a random Google search led to a dream vacation to Newfoundland

Preston Morgan found Newfoundland on a map and wanted to learn more. Nine years later it culminated with what he calls the 'vacation of a lifetime.'
Preston Morgan stands atop Signal Hill during what he called his 'dream vacation.' (Adam Walsh/CBC)

Preston Morgan is back home in Fort Worth, Tex., after what he calls his "dream vacation" in Newfoundland.

And it all started because he saw this place on a map almost a decade ago. 

Having a love for the sea, Morgan, 56, says it was during Christmas break in 2010 that he was looking up information about the North Atlantic when he noticed something. 

He spotted the big island hanging off the right-hand edge of North America and immediately wanted to know more. 

"Was it a country? Was it a part of someplace, what was it? I first found some pictures that blew me away. I thought to myself, this place is special," said Morgan. 

Connected through Twitter

So Morgan set out to learn more and that led him to a certain social media site. 

"It was basically through Twitter and just looking at the interaction of the citizens here," he said. "It just sparked my interest and made me feel like I need to find out what these people are like."

As the years passed by he got to know people here through his online connections and became fascinated by the culture. He even started listening to CHMR's local music programming on Saturdays. 

Local music lover

"I remember the first time I heard the pure sweet sound of Matthew Byrne performing traditional ballads. It was beautiful," he said.

"I progressed through listening to Hey Rosetta!, The Dardanelles, Great Big Sea, The Navigators, The Irish Descendants, Shanneyganock, and more."

This past year when it came time to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary, Morgan and his wife Louise drove to Dallas to take in an Alan Doyle and Cory Tetford concert. 

"Alan brought a tear to my eyes with his tribute to his parents in Somewhere In A Song," he said. 

Morgan's attachment to Newfoundland obviously wasn't going anywhere so his family decided it was time to do something about it. 

"I think I wore my family out talking about Newfoundland as much as I do all the time. And my oldest daughter Rebekah surprised me with a ticket here this summer," he said. 

What a trip it was

Morgan, his wife, and daughter Rebekah Morgan hit up all the main attractions, checked out local restaurants — and even spent six straight nights taking in local music on George Street. 

He said he wouldn't change a thing about his time in and around St. John's. 

Preston Morgan sits in front of a touton appetizer before a hearty Newfoundland breakfast at Donovan's Irving. (Adam Walsh/CBC)

"You know I was hoping when you put something so high on a pedestal, and think you know things can't be that perfect and can't be that wonderful," Morgan said.

"I was afraid of maybe a little bit of a letdown. This trip has been more than I ever expected."

During his time here Morgan pretty much became a local celebrity. On top of multiple media interviews, he also picked up hundreds of followers on Twitter as people responded to his tweets about local food, culture and his love of all things Newfoundland. 

Not taking things for granted

"It's really given me a chance to look at my own life and to be able to go back home and take a look at what's around me, and not to walk past things and just appreciate the day-to-day life," he said.  

One of Morgan's first tweets when he returned to Texas was an image of a handful of Canadian coins. The text accompanying it said he's starting to save for his return to The Rock. 

The one thing he didn't get to do on this trip that's a "must-do" — is to take in a traditional kitchen party — and he intends to do just that. Next time.

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Adam Walsh

CBC News

Adam Walsh is a CBC journalist. He works primarily for the St. John's Morning Show, and contributes to television and digital programming.

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