When I set out to travel over a year ago, I knew that it was going to change my life. I never could have imagined, however, how significant of a change it would be.
I mean, if someone told me I was going to be in Utah part-time, I would have laughed. I didn’t even know where Utah was…
But really, do most Canadians?
Almost exactly a year ago, I joined Kevin in New York. One year and twenty countries together later, I have never been happier or felt more myself in my entire life!
So as I sat in the American Express Lounge in the Sydney Airport with a glass of champagne in my hand waiting to board my flight back to Canada alone, I started to cry. Even though I was going home, I felt like I was actually leaving my home.
Kevin is my home.
Kevin looked at me puzzled and said, “You are the saddest girl I have ever seen with a glass of champagne in her hands!”
He managed to crack a smile out of me. I quickly pulled myself together and reminded myself it was only going to be for a month. I mean, I can do one month!
Then he did what any amazing boyfriend would do… he went and got me another glass of champagne!
The plan was for Kevin to continue to travel through Southeast Asia for the next month while I went back to British Columbia to spend time with my friends and family.
I really don’t like to be away from Canada for more than 6 months..
By the time I got on the plane, I was starting to feel excited to get back home. I also lucked out with no one sitting next to me which was going to make the flight so much better. In fact, I had three seats to myself! I couldn’t wait to sleep.
The time change from Australia to Canada was going to be the pits!
My first weekend home I headed to Vancouver with my best friend since Kindergarten, Daisy. While our time in Vancouver was going to be short, we had big plans for the weekend.
It’s not often I get a weekend away with that girl!
On our first day we got settled into the Listel Hotel. For those of you that have never stayed here, I highly recommend it. From now on, it will be the only hotel I stay at in Vancouver. The service is unbelievable, the rooms are great, the location on Robson Street is amazing and the price is right.
Not to mention, they had free wine in the lobby between 3:00 – 5:00 p.m! I’m talking full glasses too. Not just samples!
Thank you Listel for getting things started!
After enjoying a couple glasses of wine, we headed to Rodney’s Oyster House in Yaletown to meet up with our friends Loren, Darren, Ashleigh and Nick. It was so great to catchup with everyone. I had not seen some of them since we were together in Mexico in January 2015!
Time goes by way too fast!
The next morning was the start of our serious plans. Today, we were going to cross off one of Daisy’s bucket list hikes, the Stawamus Chief in Squamish!
But first, we enjoyed our complementary coffee delivered to our room.
Best hotel ever.
Now, when I agreed to the hike I was feeling pretty confident after all of the hiking I did in New Zealand. I did warn Daisy, however, that I was not a rock star hiker like her.
Just so we were clear.
I mean, she does trail racing competitions. Let’s just say, that’s not quite in the cards for me yet…
When we arrived at the Chief, I loaded my day pack with my jacket and water, and we set off on the trail. Needless to say, it started out rough. Real rough. It was basically a staircase that continued straight up for an hour!
I don’t know what I thought the Chief was going to be like but I was hoping for some flat patches now and again that was for sure…
While I death gripped the railing focusing on one step at a time, Daisy was flying up the stairs. At the top of each staircase, I panted while resting my hands on my knees. I tried to put on a strong face but the feeling I was going to pass out or throw up was not passing as quickly as I had hoped.
“I’m okay!” I kept yelling to Daisy… as the blood slowly drained from my face.
“Give me the backpack,” Daisy yelled back. I refused explaining I carried much heavier bags in New Zealand. I was going to be fine.
Eventually, the staircases ended but only to be replaced with its more natural version.
Can’t a girl catch a break?! Where are the easy parts around here?
After stopping for about the hundredth time, Daisy called out, “Give me the damn backpack!” I finally agreed. I had lost faith things were going to get any easier…
After about an hour of climbing stairs, I was thankful we reached what appeared to be a halfway point. A local hiker assured us that we were only about 30 minutes away from the first peak. Also, it was about to get much easier and more fun for the rest of the way.
Fun? I wondered what kind of fun this guy was into… He looked like he had just ran up the whole way!
But it did get easier and much more fun! Before I knew it, we reached our first viewing point where we rested and grabbed a snack. My attitude really started to turn around at this point and I even found myself encouraging another girl to keep going who was set on heading back.
As we continued on, the trail got much more diverse and much more interesting! The last stretch to the first peak of the Chief is filled with fun ladders and chains to help you climb up steep rocky sections.
Okay, well this is pretty cool! Not to mention, I was starting to feel totally hardcore climbing with those chains…
Like any hike, getting to the top brought a feeling of accomplishment and relief! I was so happy to be able to join my best friend doing something she loves so much. It also felt great to get back into hiking as it has become something that I am starting to love as well.
What I did learn from this experience, however, is that if you don’t keep it up, you quickly lose your stamina. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do if Kevin and I are planning to hike Everest Base Camp in November! Pretty sure that is all uphill and lasts about 2 weeks at an elevation of 16,000 feet.
Anyway, while we were hoping to tackle more than one peak at the Chief that day, we had plans back in Vancouver and needed to get going!
Our plans that night were to reunite with Diana and Nicole, two others we were best friends with through Elementary and Middle School. The four of us had not all gotten together in over 10 years!
So after a few glasses of wine in the lobby, we packed up our old school photo albums and yearbooks, and headed to Diana’s house.
We were about to take a trip down memory lane!
The night was great! It was so crazy to see both of them after so much time and look at everyone’s photo albums. Here were some of my favourites.
I forgot how much I loved chokers!
It was so interesting to hear how our lives took us all in completely different directions. There was no major event that separated us, it was just life pulling us down our own paths. It made me sad that we had lost touch along the way but I was thankful that we got this opportunity to catch up.
Over the next couple of weeks, I continued to meet up with every friend I could possibly squeeze in to see.
With each visit, I became more and more thankful that I had the blog along the way to share our stories while we travel. It keeps me from spending my entire time talking about travelling. When I am home, I want to hear about everyone else and what is going on with their lives!
After six months away, there are now new babies and new paths being taken. No matter what has happened, however, when we all get together it is like nothing has changed. I love and miss everyone SSSOO much!
Another thing I miss from home is joining Pam for dinner at Quail’s Gate where her sister is the head chef. I have travelled all over the world and eaten some INCREDIBLE dishes, and Nav Dhillon always manages to blow me away.
After an amazing couple of weeks home, I had one last weekend scheduled. Leah, Kristi, Kendra, Ria and I were going to have two full days together up at Cultus Lake!
We had some serious catching up to do!
There was lots of wine, vodka, snacks, delicious food (mmmm Kendra’s spring rolls), and laughs! We spent our days lounging on the patio, playing board games (because why not?), and catching up.
Oh and one water adventure!
After an amazing month back in Canada, I headed to the airport to fly to Utah! While it was hard to say goodbye, I was really ready to see Kevin.
I also couldn’t wait to get there to start planning our next adventure: camping through the National Parks this summer! Our plan is to explore the parks in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia over the next four months.
Basically, we decided it was time to check out our own countries!
So, see you soon, Canada. In no time, we’ll be back!