It was the week of my 28th birthday and this trip was going to be my birthday present to myself. I was badly in need of a retreat from my daily routines and I was also on the prowl for a new location in Canada that I could one day call home. Victoria, BC seemed like a powerful candidate based on stories I had heard and pictures that I had seen. I needed to verify all of this for myself so that I could get really serious about the changes that I needed to make for my future.
The start of my trip was a bit rocky since I arrived late at the airport and missed the check-in time for my flight by about 15 minutes. I had to spend a few hundred dollars getting myself on to an alternative flight there as a matter of consequence. I had spent the night before with a chick that I had met on Tinder for a few dates. She was able to convince me that I didn’t need to leave so early to arrive on time at the airport and I bought it. I suppose the weed and alcohol in my system the night before made me more malleable to suggestion. Needless to say, I was pissed off and that would be our last time seeing each other, although at the end of the day I know that I really had nobody to blame for missing my flight but myself and that made it even worse.
Anyways, I eventually made my way to Victoria after a stopover in Vancouver. The first thing that I noticed after my arrival was the presence of palm trees outside of the airport. Palm trees in Canada??? What the hell? I didn’t even know that was possible. I thought that this place was strangely tropical for being so far North and I liked it.
I took a shuttle bus to the Ocean Island Inn backpackers hostel in the heart of downtown Victoria where I would spend the majority of my nights over the next 7 days. I splurged a little for a single room all to myself, and boy was I impressed that they were able to fit a bed into a room so small. Haha! Yet I had everything that I needed and the privacy was perfect. I enjoyed my tiny room where I could read and write and research areas of interest in peace, it was A.O.K with me.
For the next few days, I mainly toured the city on foot with my camera in hand and backpack with me at all times, a good novel in tow in case I were to find a scenic spot with a nice shady tree.
I wandered the harbour and the downtown district of the city. I wandered across the Parliament building on the island and around the tourist areas. I watched the seaplanes take off and the boats shuffling in and out of the port. I also walked into a medical marijuana shop for the first time in my life to pick up a bit of bud for my late nights in my bedroom (And no, I didn’t have a license).
Two days after my arrival, I treated myself to a jet boat tour that advertised whale sightings in the ocean around Victoria. It was my birthday after all, and seeing a whale in its natural habitat had always been on my bucket list! I was not disappointed.
Over the next few days, I would spend most of my time out and about exploring the city. In Oak Bay, I had an amazing lunch at a little restaurant which served me possibly the greatest Omelet of my life, wrapped around a fat piece of smoked salmon, with a pint of dark beer to go with it, of course, followed by a walk to Oak Bay Marina where I fed some seals frozen Herring that I had purchased at the Marina store.
I walked along the coast on my way back to the heart of the city and gazed across the ocean at the sight of enormous mountains shielding American’s from the overbearing pleasantries of their Northern neighbours. Outside of an apartment building on my journey, there were 2 deer just grazing on the grass of the building’s front yard. I felt as if I were in a Disney movie. When would the birds start singing? I had also passed a beautiful scene of an elderly couple relaxing in the sun on a rocky ledge overlooking the sea. This place really struck me as paradise.
At night I would drink a little and smoke too much, take my dinner in the hostel bar with the other travellers and spend time writing away in my journal.
My last hurrah of the trip was a day and a half road trip that took me North so I could get a feel for the truly beautiful places on the island, not so much touched by humanity. The trip took me through a city of hippies where I ate at a restaurant that had sheep grazing on the roof usually, except in my case there was far too much rain that day. I was taken deep through the mountains on small winding roads and through forests that seemed ancient and untouched. I walked along rocky ocean coastlines and visited a wild town called Tofino that sat upon an ocean inlet and was famous for its year-round surfing.
I had slept like absolute shit that night in my car without a sleeping bag or blanket, but the places that I had visited were well-worth the torment. It wasn’t a well-organized plan that I had, going on that road trip, I was just trying to be frugal and had to suffer a bit for that in the end.
I returned to my hostel fairly early the next afternoon after dropping off the rental vehicle and crashed hard that day from exhaustion and lack of sleep. The next day or two were fairly uneventful, eating in a few nice local restaurants and quietly seeing the sights. The trip was memorable and I will always cherish those memories looking back.
I would highly recommend Victoria, BC and Vancouver Island to anybody looking for a beautiful spot to get away to. The people were friendly and welcoming and the sights are absolutely stunning. It is truly a paradise of its own in my opinion.
Have you ever travelled to an area that took your breath away and you felt the need to share that experience with the world? Where was it and what was the best part of your trip?