(Originally posted on my old personal blog, Adventures with KHill!)
Yello there everybody from your friendly neighborhood nomad! That’s right, world - I have no address right now. Please direct all mail to whatever Starbucks in which I’m squatting and stealing wifi at any given moment (currently a Starbucks in Victoria, BC). And don’t tell the Seattle Public Library that I’ve moved - I’m trying to keep my ebook access from them for as long as possible.
Getting on the road was an ordeal; packing the apartment may have been the greatest test of Stephen’s and my nearly five year relationship, which is LOL-worthy, but seriously. We are stronger now from the time we spent disassembling our furniture, shoving junk into boxes and saying “how did we get so much junk?”, and maybe almost chomping each other’s heads off a couple of times. And now we’re free as lil birdies with most of our worldly possessions in a packing cube en route to Kentucky!
The past couple of weeks have been really, really relaxing. When we left Seattle, we headed straight to Pender Harbour, British Columbia, where Stephen’s grandpa has a beautiful place right on the water. We spent a week there mostly lounging around the house, eating good food, reading books, playing games (let the record show that I would have beaten Stephen in Monopoly if I hadn’t wanted to quit and go to sleep), and boating and kayaking around the harbour. We also went to some nearby rapids called Skookumchuck, where I saw real live starfish in the wild. Then we (somewhat reluctantly) went back to Stephen’s grandpa’s place in Vancouver for a few days. I hadn’t really explored much of Vancouver, so it was cool to see the city. We went to a place called Granville Island, where there was a public market that reminded me of Pike Place in Seattle, along with some other cool shops and restaurants. After that, instead of riding in the car back to West Vancouver like normal humans would, Stephen, his brother, and a reluctant Kaitlyn walked for about two and a half hours through most of the city to meet the rest of the family for dinner. As much as my feet hated me, it was nice to see Vancouver that way, and especially to walk over some of the big bridges with awesome views.
Over the whole week and a half, I loved spending more time with Stephen’s family. I think we all appreciated the time away from everything. In Pender Harbour, we didn’t have phone service OR wifi and I honestly do not know the last time I went that long without either, which is kind of tragic (#millenial). But it was amazing how peaceful I felt without the constant barrage of information and sad news and social media. I’m not totally ready to drop everything, move to the woods, grow a beard, and never see the outside world again, but incorporating some time off-grid more often in my normal life sounds like a good idea. She says as she types up a blog to post online. And I would look good with a beard.
I digress. Yesterday, we said goodbye (but see you very soon!) to the family and set off for Victoria, BC. At some point in the past few years, when Stephen was in Victoria with his family, he described it to me as “like Disney World.” Obviously, it became the highest item on my Canadian “to see” list. Yesterday was basically a travel day as we took the ferry to Vancouver Island and found a camp site. I thought Washington State ferries were really cool, and they are, but BC ferries…it’s another level. The ferry from Tsawwassen (near Vancouver) to Vancouver Island felt like a mini cruise ship. It had something like 3 or 4 restaurant/cafe options, a gift shop, comfy seats, and amazing views. I spent most of the ride sitting in front of these big panoramic windows at the front of the ferry and watching tons of seals swimming around the ocean (or the bay, or whatever the body of water was called - it all connects to the ocean, so why can’t we call it the ocean? Why doesn’t anyone consult me on these things??). Our campsite is in a nice provincial park called Goldstream. I have no complaints about the campsite/camping so far except for the gosh dern COLD. Wow. Remember my last post when I was all, “omg camping is so cool and relaxing!”? Yeah, I had not yet camped in temperatures below 65 or so. Last night, we (90% Stephen) built a fire, so that was fine, and my sleeping bag is very warm but this morning when I had to get up, I was a popsicle. A very grumpy popsicle who needed a shower. And the shower was cold, so I became doubly frozen. I’m going to need to adjust to the ~roughing it~ lifestyle; I think I’ll get there, but I am seriously praying for slightly warmer temps as we go further south. I also feel like all the fellow camper women know things that I don’t. Do you all not feel the cold of the showers? Am I a total diva for using a hair dryer in the campground’s bathroom? Do you all have magical skin that doesn’t require a 3-step cleansing regime morning and night to keep from breaking out? Alright, so most of my self-consciousness surrounds my personal hygiene. But there are some things I’m not ready to compromise yet, even when I feel like the most high-maintenance weenie in the wilderness.
Today, we explored Victoria. We went in the Parliament building and I felt like a total noob for not realizing that this is the capital of British Columbia. Victoria as a whole feels pretty European; you can see the British/royal influence more here than in other places I’ve been in Canada, not that I’m an expert from my two weeks on this side of the border. There was also a giant statue out front of Queen Victoria, whom I now see as a soul sister after watching the PBS Masterpiece series about her. I don’t totally agree with her on the whole imperialism thing, though. All soul siblings have disagreements, I guess. The highlight of today was the most magical, ginormous, amazing bookstore, Russell Books. It was three stories of a whole bunch of floor-to-ceiling shelves FILLED with BOOKS. Oh my gosh, I was in love. Every genre imaginable, used and new copies, you name it. The basement even had a bunch of historic/antique novels and children’s books. We browsed for at least two hours and could have spent even more time there. I bought one of their tote bags as my Victoria souvenir. Obsessed. Would come back just for that store. We also ate some really good food today, like pierogis and locally made orange soda. This day has turned out so great that I’ve nearly forgotten about my cold morning (though clearly I haven’t entirely - see previous paragraph).
Tomorrow, we are heading back stateside, and I gotta say that I’m not quite ready to return to a land where Donald Trump is president and just about anyone can legally acquire an assault rifle. Did I mention how nice it was not having internet? Anyway. I hope to update fairly frequently on our travels, with accompanying pictures. I am really, really missing my family and friends right now and am looking forward to being closer to home. Sappy Kaitlyn.
I need to say goodbye to Starbucks now, so I’m not going to type a full book recommendation, but do yourself a favor and read MARCH: Books 1, 2, and 3 by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. I read all three in Pender Harbour and even as someone who felt hesitance toward graphic novels, I was quickly hooked. Such a compelling read and relevant to our times. Hope to write more on it soon but for now, a rushed wrap-up…sry in advance for any typos or things that don’t make sense because I’m not revising…until next time!