Hey, how would you like to go out of the country with me?
That was the way I started my message to Elanee.
Her first sentence in reply? Aww, that would be epic!!
Those are the very best kind of friends-right?
So over a few quick messages, it was settled: we were going on a road trip to Canada.
But having only a small window of time open for the trip, it was a small miracle that both Elanee’s and my schedule aligned! So over Chick-fil-a mac & cheese, we came up with a game plan for our trip. We didn’t book any tours of the sort but just wanted to explore at our or leisure.
Canada was a PERFECT first out-of-country experience, and if we’re honest it’s hardly over the boarder, but I like to consider it a good first step in the right direction!
Staying in Airbnb’s and playing pretty much everything by how we felt/what we wanted at the time, it was a relaxing approach!
I brought my camera, with the intent in mind to only pull it out a couple of times. Forgoing the “pressure” of having to document the who trip, I simply focused on enjoying the moment.
Driving up to the boarder (Elanee, thank you for listening to the Greatest Showman so many times…well, and also listening to me sing for about 50% of our drive) we left the boarder coast on a ferry. We wanted to spend as much time as we could outside on the dock and enjoy the scendery… leaving both of us weaving and stumbling as we walked. An elderly gentleman was watching our plight and laughed, commenting about walking around the deck was like being drunk… so we clumsily made our way to our seats to stay secure for the rest of voyage.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Our first destination was the beautiful Victoria. The whole town was so quaint and charming, we just enjoyed walking around and leisurely exploring!
We went on a self-led tour around the Empress, and I was impressed with the gorgeous crystal potato chips that hung from the lobby ceiling!
One of my favorite parts (call me a nerd) was exploring the Parliament building. I love history, and so it was surreal to come over the border to somewhere that wasn’t governed by the USA. Learning more about their government and their relationship with the United Kingdom was quite interesting along with reading the multiple war memorials that were displayed throughout.
And we spent some time relaxing at our cute Airbnb… We also got a tip from a local (thanks, Parker!) about a beautiful hike and waterfall making it the perfect outing to wrap up the day!
Elanee and I were both thrilled and surprised there was a Costco in Canda, and not only did we grab some food for the rest of our trip, but we also got a fantastic photobomber who’s skill was ON POINT! (see lower right hand corner)
Making the drive from Victoria to Whistler (which is a very touristy town) we enjoyed biking around the entire area, and although I normally am not a big fan of cycling, the trails were nothing short of perfect the views just spectacular!
After biking for a few hours we caught a bus back and much to my embarrassment, we didn’t have any Canadian money on hand to pay for our tickets. Thankfully the driver didn’t kick us off, but he wasn’t terribly pleased and I don’t blame him!
So note for next time: have local currency on hand, just in case!
And afterwards it took us FOREVER to find a restrant (indecisive queens!) so we were both starvinggggg when we ate this food after our 15 mile bike ride and eventful bus ride.
One of the things that were on my list to do while we were in Canda was to stop at a Tim Horton’s (it’s like a Canadian Starbucks) because I was given instructions by a Canadian friend to get a “double-double”. It was delish- kinda tasted like an extra sweet latte.
And isn’t Elanee just the cutest?!
We met up with a friend of Elanee’s (Roman) from Switzerland who was living in Canda and Anne, who was visiting from Germany to go on an all-day hike!
The road led up to the hike was, from what Elanee said, off-roading. I, who have never been off-roading in my life, was driving, with palms sweating and trying to remain calm praying that I don’t get a flat tire, fall off the cliff or take anything off the underneath the car (because my knowledge of cars equals about -5%). THANKFULLY no damage was done, and sheepishly I’ll say that everyone was impressed with my driving skills but for me. I’ve had my fill of “off-roading” and I much prefer normal paved roads where my heartbeat can remain at a normal pace and I don’t have to grip the steering wheel like I’m holding on for dear life.
Once we got the trails we started our 6-hour hike, and Roman was an excellent guide as I would look around as we climbed over boulders and wonder where exactly the trail was. But OH BOY, once we got to the lake it was so worth it!
The water was such a dazzling color of blue and green and the jaded mountains were covered in the fog were like something you’d see in a movie! After eating, taking a few pictures and shivering by a campfire that Elanee and Roman made is the cliff of a bolder, we headed back down the mountain.
I was so impressed with Elanee as she went along the hike with a strong steady speed and endurance…for me about halfway back my feet swelled up in my not-quite-broken -in leather boots (Also my feet are extra wide so that doesn’t help the situation). After painfully hobbling for a bit, I decided that the best thing to do was just walk back in my socks. Through some streams, and over lots of rocks, it wasn’t too bad, but it’s not exactly something I’d sign up for again!
Exhausted from our long day we drove Vancouver where we stayed the night and then headed back to good o’ l USA!
Thinking back to our little expedition to Canda, I loved getting to see more of this beautiful world of ours, but the thing that made it most special for me was the times I got to share with Elanee, and the people we were able to meet along the way. Parker, Sarah, the Australian bike rental guy, Roman, and Anne, it was cool to hear their stories and enjoy them. And that was the part that I loved most about traveling!
There’s really no place like home, but I can’t wait for more adventures outside our borders.