Why do any of us travel for vacation? Of course the whole concept is a luxury, just being able to travel and see different parts of the country and/or world. So I can’t complain about the general idea of it, but I want to have reasons for going somewhere.
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons of travel. The cons are immediately apparent in several words and phrases–airport security, long hours on the road, not sleeping in your own bed, airport delays, expensive, time-consuming, uncomfortable. Are the reasons we travel as easily recognizable as the things that may prevent us? The most obvious ones that come to mind are relaxing and doing. I think I’ve heard Adam Corolla describe his weekends as “having a hiking boot on one foot and a slipper on the other”. It’s usually my goal to balance the “doing” and the “relaxing” in some type of pre-determined ratio that’s likely never to turn out like we planned. When we recently hit the road on a vacation to Vancouver, B.C., we had a few goals in mind that we wanted to meet during our time with our neighbor to the north, a.k.a. Canada. I’ve italicized the parts of the trip that best met these goals.
- I’ve heard phrases before like, “You can relax when you die”. But for me, a good vacation away from home requires some quiet times of reading, listening, and even a nice afternoon slumber every now and then. I want to come back to work refreshed and ready to go, and relaxing is an important part for me.
- We stay at bed and breakfasts occasionally, and we came upon some good reviews for the Thistledown House on the North Shore of Vancouver. Toward the end of our stay, we ventured down to a common area in the house which was full of plants and windows to the backyard…to read some. The innkeeper stopped by and asked us if we wanted some tea and cake in the main room, and she said she’d start a fire for us. I am not a reader, and I don’t really drink hot tea, but this situation was so ideal that we sat in front of the fireplace for a couple hours enjoying our books and relaxing.
- We hoped to stay some distance from the city for part of the vacation, closer to the lush forests and snow-capped mountains.
- A nearby park called Lynn Canyon was a short drive away. Here there was a suspension bridge across a 150-foot deep canyon, and the forests were thick and colored with that vibrant green that only occurs somewhere that gets 50 inches of rain a year. The walk through the woods was serene and definitely made it feel like we were 1000 miles from any other humans.
- We are aware that there’s likely a rich history of North American Indians and Asians in Vancouver, and we hope to learn some about these cultures and how they are still relevant in the area today.
- Suprisingly, I learned more about the culture of Vancouver and Canada in general by just talking with the innkeepers at the Thistledown House and some of the guests that were there. We learned about the various phases of Asian immigration to Canada, the healthcare system there, and taxes. These things are both political and cultural, but the discussion of these topics really gave me some insight into our neighboring country and provided some parallels to the good ol’ USA.
- Usually, you can get the real feel of a place by eating food that is unique to that area. And when I think of Vancouver, I think of freakishly great seafood and amazing Asian food.
- We found a place called the Raincity Grill that overlooked English Bay on a busy street called Denman. The place was mostly empty when we arrived, the sun setting amidst much mostly cloudy skies, yielding just enough color to enhance and otherwise gray day. The menu described the farms where the restaurant got most of their ingredients, and the wine menu featured maps and descriptions of each viticultural area to include BC, Oregon, Washington, and California. The food and service was amazing, and we left feeling like we tasted what people in Vancouver taste regularly.
- The bed and breakfast we stayed at also had some amazing food…like four course breakfasts! Here are a few pics from a breakfast we had there…
- What are your reasons for traveling? I’d love to hear other perspectives on venturing into the known and unknown.