September 2010-December 2011 Vancouver Canada
Well I guess we should start at the beginning. After I decided to make a change in my life and figured out what it was I wanted to do (Be Happy and Travel). I had to go through with it, my mind was made up and the question wasn’t “could I really do this?” It was “how am I going to do this?” I’ve saved up money, I paid off my bills, and I found a new home for my cat (sounds like she is pretty happy). I rented out my house and found great property managers (thanks mom and dad). I sold my car and pretty much everything I owned in the house then took my dollars and headed to the coast, Vancouver British Columbia (which is where “the guy” lived) to get used to “travelling”. The plan was to stay there for 1 year then move to Australia for a year then travel South East Asia until our money ran out. As you keep reading, you’ll find out that those original plans have melted into something much more significant and long term, and that they keep changing day by day (as the life of a traveller does). Anyways, I was off on my adventure, first stop VanCity.
That first year away from home, I can easily say, was one of the hardest years of my life. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed my house, I missed my job, I missed my life. Life in Vancouver wasn’t bad (other than I had the lowest income known to man), it was just a shock and a change. I visited home 2 or 3 times that year and with every visit I realized I was in the right place but man it was hard. I’ve heard of other’s going through homesickness during their travels but for me it didn’t seem right, since I wasn’t really travelling yet (I was living with my boyfriend in a great basement apartment by the sea, we were working and living normal lives). Either way I went through the homesickness in a bad way. It made my lazy and recluse, I didn’t try to work hard, I didn’t try to make friends. I knew we were moving on to Australia anyways, why did I have to do any of that if I was gonna leave it all anyways? It would just make it hard to leave, like it was hard to leave home. I was wrong though, of course, but I have learned from it. I didn’t enjoy my time in Vancouver like I should have. I should have made friends, gone out, seen the city, seen the area. I should have shared the experience with others more than I did. I should have had FUN. That’s what travelling is about isn’t it? That’s what life is about isn’t it? If it’s not than that sucks. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we should be having fun doing it, it’s just silly not to. So that was my first year in a quick nutshell. By the end of the year I did end up making some great friends and doing some cool stuff, but I waited way too long to enjoy myself out there. I don’t plan on making that mistake again (though it is easy to fall into the trap).
On a lighter note, I should add in here some cool things to do or see while in Vancouver and surrounding area though, because it really is the most beautiful area of Canada that I have seen so far. Here is my top 10 list:
1. Granville Island Markets. Great food, great entertainment, great shopping, great vibe
2. Sea to Sky Highway. The most breathtaking drive you’ll do.
3. Kits beach. Voted worlds best looking beach (the people that is) though I like it for chill factor.
4. . Walk or bike the seawall around Stanley Park. Keep your eyes on the water for sea life surprises.
5. Drive into Harrison Hot Springs for some camping on the lake. Just follow the only road that goes around the lake on the right, you’ll know it when you find it.
6. Take a trip to Whistler, it’s only a 2 hour drive away
7. Take a ferry to Vancouver Island then checkout Victoria and Tofino. Give yourself at least a week and make every stop on the way you can. AMAZING!
8 A little out of the area but try to get to Banff National Park and Lake Louis. You’ll regret it if you came all the way to Canada and missed it.
9. Do the Grouse Grind (or wimp out like me and take the gondola up). In the winter you ski, in the summer you checkout the bears and birds.
10 And number 10 would be a day in White Rock. A great beach with bars and shopping. Look for the Sandpiper Bar at the far end, it’s classic (and right around the corner from our old flat!)