I found myself on more than a couple of occasions trying to beat the sun to my next destination, and always, for some fucked reason > I was in the middle of nowhere, ripping to the next little town to lay my head for the night as well as check my emails and perhaps get some work done. I don’t know if I have mentioned this and maybe you, the reader, must be thinking – where the hell does he get all the money to do this ish! LOL!! I am what you call a digital nomad – I constantly travel and as long as I have an internet connection and I can complete my work and continue to pay my way through this adventure…however, sometimes, not so lucky in wifi department but those are stories for another post and destination…!
Ok, so I have left Alberta and am on my way to Vancouver, British Columbia. I went through Jasper way as I was leaving Edmonton and Highway 16 West is right there. Normally, when one heads West, it’s mainly through Banff because Highway 1 is there and that is the Trans-Canada Highway (traversing the Nation). So the idea, as per my last post, was 16 West, through Jasper National Park to Highway 5, South to Kamloops and then catching Hwy. 1 West into Vancouver. Now the main thing of this entire journey are the sights – Jasper National Park is chock full of wildlife and flora and mountains oh my! Left, right and center, rubbernecking your way, all the way to VanCity!! I only got a small glimpse, because as soon as I reached Kamloops, I lost the sun and the rest of my way was driven in darkness. The light in this dark driving tunnel was that when you rejoin Hwy. 1, traffic resumes and you’re never really alone in traffic, are you?
Vancouver…what can I tell you – I wasn’t really there to discover the city. I have been to VanCity so many times, more than my hand digits for sure. I always pass through this town because I have great friends and family here and they are all over the place. Vancouver is vast in size, separated into North, East and West and then there are smaller cities (suburbs) like Richmond, Coquitlam and Surrey (and more) and I am lucky enough to have people in almost every nook and cranny of this town…plus, just 2.5 hours up the Sea to Sky Highway rests Whistler and a few more closeknit people in my life!
This time though was a little different, first off I spent nearly 3 weeks in town and it’s a good thing I did…I spent time with really close family friends of mine, fuck it, I call’em my cousins…one in Surrey and the other in Richmond – Sophia who introduced me to her friend who I aptly nicknamed Big because dude is huge and he got a heart to match…and he loves his city – took me out a couple times, once with a left hook (true story and I have the picture to prove it LOL) – the one time he took me out and taught me about Vancouver. He is a longshoreman and is very knowledgeable about the history of the city, its’ many areas and the body of water that feed out into the Pacific Ocean. It was really cool to get a boots-on-the-ground perspective of this world renowned city from the mouth and personal experience of someone who loves his city to bits, although, being a West coaster, he also likes all his pro teams à la California; so while we got along like we’d known each other forever, I just can’t respect his game love and we jabbed each other here and there in regards to that…so much so – remember that left hook? Seriously put me to sleep for a New York minute (it was a high five got awry).
I eventually rolled up to Whistler which was weird for me, because this is late fall/nearly winter time and there was no snow except at the peaks & caps. It was odd to not have my snowblade gear, readying to carve up, ok I am lying…readying to ‘recreationally’ slide down the various runs of the infamous Whistler & Blackcomb mountains…I actually came out to visit a very close friend of mine who just up and left Toronto to take a chance on life and go where the happiness was for her…that my friends is Whistler – and what a good choice she made. Also, by luck, the annual Whistler Cornucopia was on that weekend and a bunch of family friends (who don’t know one another) also came up so I got to hang out with a multitude of people that weekend, what a great experience and excruciatingly prolific hangover the next day…at least I was in the company of my friend; Stars, and she was equally hurt by the questionable but highly unregrettable choices we made earlier in those wee hours of the night.
So if you are looking for that true North feel, that snow capped mountain, rapid river flowing, deers in the road, relaxed vibe kind of spot – the West Coast is your calling. I have been to several cities in B.C., and everyone has the same chill mentality. Go to Whistler and encounter a predominantly Australian majority, head to Surrey for a huge South Asian population but then the most delicious Pho eateries ever, get a little bougie in Richmond or go downtown for that perfect mix of a slow motioned rat race and into the woods feel. Vancouver has it all, right down to a Ski hill that faces the Ocean (Cypress Mountain), beautiful beaches and even a sister island just a ferry ride away in Victoria. Love this place, for its’ people and its’ vibe but not its’ pro teams. Toronto forever, not sorry, never.
Honourable mention: Met up with a buddy of mine, Shea, who I met (with his Sister) and partied with in Thailand. Such a cool dude, we met up in his neck of the woods, grabbed a couple beers, reminisced about earlier in the year and called it a day…next time when I got more time, we will do it up proper brother!