A City Girl Camps: Being The World’s Worst Camper In Tofino

Back in June, three weeks before leaving Canada, I made my way out to Vancouver Island to visit a friend in Tofino.

Located on the west side of Vancouver Island, Tofino is known as Canada’s surf Capital. A cute little town with unique eateries and some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen.

From Whistler, the nearest ferry terminal is Horseshoe Bay. I’d made this route once before in January when visiting Nanaimo for the day. Last time we were foot passengers, this time we were taking a car. There’s two different routes from the highway depending on whether you are driving or just a passenger. Needless to say, the route directions were just as bad this time around and as a result we missed our ferry. Never mind we will just hang out until the next one. We passed the time eating ice cream and enjoying the sun for a while.

As usual I got sea-sick on the ferry, but managed to calm it. We arrived at around 5pm in Nanaimo. After a quick stop for Groceries, beer and a Subway, we were on our way. Passing through some really amazing places. Cameron Lake was beautiful and seeing the sun set on Barkley Sound was just incredible. We even managed to spot a black bear on the side of the road, and a bald eagle flying beside us over Sproat Lake. With one day to travel to Tofino, were weren’t able to stop anywhere on the way, but I’d love to come back and explore more of the Island.

Accommodation

Weeks prior to actually booking my trip I looked up accommodation.

I found nothing.

Well, nothing within my price range anyhow. I looked on Air b ‘n’ b and everything hotel booking website. But all the cheaper cabins/motels had been booked out for weeks.

In other words, I tried really really hard not to camp. I can’t remember the last time I even camped. But camping it was to be. It would be an adventure, right? It always looked cool on Instagram. I’ll be fine.

I ended up booking the Bella Pacifica campsite. The idea of beach front camping sounded awesome, having a view of the beach from my tent? Yes please! Luckily for me, these were all booked out, so I ended up booking a spot just behind. And, thankfully I did. I’d forgotten how windy beaches are, especially at night!

The four days at our campsite Matt spent laughing at me. I brought zero warm clothes, only one hoody and one pair of pants. The rest was tank tops, shorts and dresses. #citygirl

Selfie in the tent

The days were warm in Tofino, after around midday/1pm things really started to heat up. The nights however were really cold. My last night here I slept in two t-shirts (one of them being Matt’s), a hoody, pants and socks. With a comforter and sleeping bag over the top.

World’s Worst Camper

Immediately after arriving at our campsite, I said it would be nice to go watch the sunset over Mckenzie Beach. To which Matt replied, “So you want to put the tent up in the dark?” It was 9pm at this point and sunset happens at 9:30. My reply being “No, I thought there’d be lights” He just chuckled to himself.

We put our 3 person tent up quite quickly and set up camp. In the end we did manage to see the sun setting over the beach. It was beautiful.

Sunsets on McKenzie Beach

We (Matt) made a campfire with wood we’d collected back in Whistler, and grilled hotdogs on sticks. It was starting the get dark. I’d never been anywhere this dark before. So many stars were visible in the night sky.

Nature’s Alarm Clock

Around 5am every day, the birds would wake up. Oh how great it was to be one with nature.

Or not. Our site would get crowded with crows. Now I don’t mind the little birds that song softly of a morning… but crows do not sing softly.

CAW! CAW! CAW! over and over again. It was not soft, it was not quiet. It was annoying. And it woke me up every morning. So, with my early alarm clock, it was time to get up. I made my way to the campsite showers, with my 2 bags and towels in hand.

The showers themselves were $2 for 3 minutes of hot water. In my opinion the water was lukewarm at best. I convinced myself I could shower in 3 minutes. How wrong was I? Because I was so confident in myself I only brought $2 to the washrooms. Halfway through exfoliating my face, the water shut off. Left standing there like a deer in the headlights I just had to use my wet washcloth to rinse it off and be done with it.

I’d soon discover that the hot water from the taps in the sinks was far hotter, so the next morning I had a six minute shower and just washed my face in the sink for free. Much better! I’m also 100% certain I was the only one there with hair straighteners.

Exploring Tofino Town

The actual town of Tofino is relatively small. There are a few shops and eateries but the main attraction here is surfing. There are many places here to rent surfboards, paddle boards or to book a lesson of varying levels. We’d planned on paddle boarding, but due to the colder mornings we’d ran out of time during our short stay.

One of our first stops was the Roy Henry Vickers gallery. A native art gallery, with native carvings and paintings housed within a building made to look like a long house. This was really cool, there are a couple of other native art museums within the area so be sure to check those out too.

Where to eat

Throughout my 3.5 days here, I got to explore Tofino’s many culinary delights. Being the massive foodie that I am, cafes and restaurants were one of the things I did some research on. Apart from our gourmet nightly hot dogs and smore’s treats we checked out a fair few places here.

1) Tofitian

 

2) Rhino Coffee

3) Chocolate Tofino

4) Tacofino

5) The Hatch

6) Common Loaf Bake Shop

Beach Down Time

The Beaches in Tofino are by far some of my favourite I’ve visited. So much character, with trees and rocky islands. I managed to visit four of the beaches Tofino is famous for.

1) Tonquin BeachTrail

This was amazing. Located at the North area of Tofino, the Tonquin Beach trail takes you on a small walk among the trees in order to find this hidden away spot. The beach itself has so much character, trees, rocks and clear cool water. It was relatively quiet too. There were maybe 5 other people at this beach. Definitely the kind of place you can sit and waste time just relaxing.

2) MacKenzie Beach

Another beautiful beach in Tofino, MacKenzie Beach was where our campsite was. We had planned on paddleboarding here as the waves are a lot calmer in comparison to others. We ended up not having the time to do this, instead we spent time throwing a frisbee, drinking beer and enjoying the sun.

3) Chesterman Beach

Chesterman Beach was huge, lots of soft sand, the kind I like. There were a fair few people surfing here, but still calm in comparison to Cox Bay

4) Cox Bay

This is where the waves get big, much more so in comparison to Mackenzie. The wind definitely picks up at Cow Bay, hence the bigger waves. A great beach to chill at just as much, but I definitely fell in love to calm and serene Tonquin.

 

Beautiful end to our weekend away

On our last night in Tofino, we headed down to the marina to watch the sunset. I’d heard it was beautiful from this area but didn’t realise just how beautiful. As the amazing camper that I am, I decided to put shorts on instead of pants. I wasn’t too cold at this point, but sunset is at 9:30pm in the summer and we’d arrived around 8:10pm. It’s fair to say I froze my ass off watching this sunset, but it was definitely more than worth it. This seems to be a really popular thing for locals and visitors as the dock we were watching from was full of people.

I loved the small part of Tofino that I got to see, there is by far so much more to do even though it is a small beach town. We are planning to go back at some point and hopefully explore more of the surrounding areas too.

Have you ever visited Tofino? Where’s your favourite place for camping?

 

2016 in review and goals for 2017

2016 in review and goals for 2017

It’s two weeks late but, happy new year!

Every year I say it’s going to be my year, and 2015 was, then 2016 came along and although I had a few ups and downs it topped 2015 by far. I managed to do a bit of travelling, to new countries and cities.

In March, I spend a few days in Prague, which was amazing!

Highlights included:

Watching the astronomical clock

Walking across the Charles Bridge at night

Staring at the ceiling of the St. Vitus Cathedral

Eating Trdlnik, with ice cream!

In June I took a road trip north along California’s highway 1

I visited Pismo Beach

Hearst Castle

Big sur and it’s beautiful beaches

Watched the sunset on a beach in Carmel

Got to witness a family of wild Orcas off the Californian coast in Monterey

I started a new job in June, then went on to start a second job over at my local airport. Both which I loved.

In August I got to tick off one of my biggest bucket list hits. Paris!

It was an exhausting 4 days but I loved every minute of it. I did everything I really wanted to, even if I did fall asleep on the river cruise on my last day. The weather was beautiful for most of my trip and it gave me the inspiration to tick off another big hit on my bucket list next year. hint hint.

I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, witnessed it sparkle at night, which was just magical. Ate more crepes than I could handle. Walked through the hall of mirrors at Versailles. Imitated the hunchback of Notre Dame. And finally saw the famous Mona Lisa.

Birthday in Budapest

In October I ventured over to Budapest for four days and was lucky enough to spend my birthday there, soaking in the Szechenyi thermal baths.

Whilst in Budapest I got harassed by a violinist in a creepy park by the anonymous Statue. Yelling at me half in English, half in Hungarian, for being rude simply because I didn’t want to pay to have photo with his violin. I stood there in disbelief at my friend and had no words. After taking the photo I wanted. We walked off in the opposite direction. A strange moment, but one that we couldn’t stop laughing over.

We ended our trip by walking aka hiking to the top of Gellert hill to see the liberty statue. The views from here are amazing, and I would absolutely recommend doing this.

Budapest was an amazing city, one of my favourite places I’ve been to.

I ended the year by having an interview for my dream job and two days later I flew out to Canada. I’ve been living in Whistler for just over two months now. I’ve not had a whole bunch of time to blog because I’ve been working so much. Right now I’m stuck indoors sick, like the rest of staff housing. Boo!

The weeks leading up to Christmas were so busy at work, I got in lots of overtime however and today’s paycheque paid off! Christmas day itself was spent at work, I made cupcakes a few days prior for everyone as Christmas is my favourite time of year. I spread some Christmas cheer and gave the liftie on my gondola to work one.

New Years Eve was going to be spent at the bar next to where I work, instead I decided to spend it in creekside with someone special. And it was awesome, I’m not a big NYE person anyway but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way.

The past few weeks I’ve spent getting to grips with the world of snowmobiling and going for late night walks to Nita Lake.

Snowmobiling was fun! But in -15 degrees my fingers were about ready to fall off by the end of it. I watched the sunset over the mountains as the peaks turned pink. This view from Cougar Mountain never fails to amaze me.

I tend not to set myself too many goals each year, my only real goal for 2016 was to move to Canada, get an interview for my dream job, get the dream job (still waiting), and travel to new places. All of which I did!

I did want to do more travelling however, I was going to leave my job around October, spend 3/4 weeks backpacking Europe and then move to Canada. But I got offered a new job, which paid more and then decided I’d much rather keep working and save as much as I could. There is always this year!

My goals for 2017

I don’t have any real goals for 2017 but here are a few things I’d like to achieve:

Visit New York City

The place I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. It needs to be done, once and for all. Every year I say I’m going to do this and I never do. The price just always puts me off. Well this year I’m going to do it. No excuses. It’s not going to be cheap, hence putting my Canadian savings account into good use this week and finally watching what I spend my money on here in Whistler. I like to go out here but it’s not cheap to do. Last week I must have spent about $170 on just alcohol (and yes, I felt like shit the next day). That money could be put towards skiing equipment, so I can actually get good at it instead of spending $50 a time renting.

So I booked my hotel room for NYC already, for the beginning of July. My friend is going to come out and I’ll meet him in NYC from Whistler.

So, while I’m at it I may as well tick off some other things while I’m in the states. I’m a huge history nerd, and I find American history quite interesting. So, after New York I’ll be heading down to Philadelphia and then onto D.C.

This trip isn’t going to be cheap, I’ve booked hotels and not hostels, because my friend who will be travelling with me is far too stuck up for hostels and when I weighed up the costs of hostels V hotels we’d still be paying around the same price anyway.

To get better at Skiing!

Yes, I’m going to get up early and go out on the mountain on my days off more. I don’t do hangovers so well anymore now that I’m in my late 20’s. Yes, I might not always act my age but hangovers are a no go for me! Less drinking, more skiing! I will be good by the time the season ends!

To get a new/second job in Whistler

My main career goals are to get into Hospitality and/or Travel & Tourism. Whistler is a resort town with many world known resorts and hotels and I think this would be a great opportunity to further my skills and resume. My job at Whistler Backcomb will only last until mid-April at most when the season ends. They may keep me on over the summer, but there will be a break in between the winter and summer season. So I’d need another job at that point unless I decide to travel instead. At the moment I’m keeping my options open as I’ve done the two job thing before and I didn’t love it. Having two jobs here seems to be the thing most people do anyway, and I will definitely need the money.

Travel more

This year I want to travel a whole lot more than I did last year. There’s been brief discussion about going down to Cuba with a few people I work with, which would be super fun.

Seattle is not too far away, so maybe I could do a few days down there too.

Vancouver – I spent 3 days in Vancouver and saw very little of the city, due to getting boring paperwork done. I’d like to go back for a few days and really get to see what the city offers.

Travel through Canada

My goal for this year is to travel through Canada, from Vancouver right through to Niagara falls, Montreal, Quebec etc. I have signed up for my free National Parks Pass, which is free for the whole of 2017 to celebrate Canada turning 150!

To pick up your free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass, visit here:

http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/parksb2c

I’m considering doing a 3 week tour through Trek America, rather than booking everything myself. I think this would be a great way to meet other travellers and I wouldn’t need to think about where to stay or which greyhound to get. I think this option might work out cheaper too.

Celebrate Canada day while in Canada

Canada day this year is July 1st, which is the day before I would be jetting off to New York. I didn’t know this at the time of booking my NYC trip, which is good timing or else I would have amended my booking.

And on Canada day I plan to have my photo taken with a mountie (RCMP) in their red uniform!

To see a wild bear

I didn’t get to see any bears before the season started, they are (mostly) sleeping now, so it is unlikely I’ll be able to see one until April time. But apart from eating maple syrup and having your photo done with a mountie is there anything more Canadian?

Spend the summer in Whistler

Whistler is beautiful in the summer, the lakes come to life and there are many different hiking trails. I want to visit Brandywine Falls, Joffre Lakes and do some stand up paddle boarding.

Start blogging more

When I first decided to start this blog I had so many ideas for blog posts and then I started working two jobs, I moved to Whistler and kind of lost my enthusiasm. I get it every so often here, but I think if I make it a regular thing it might help me in the long run to achieve goals, look back on what I’ve already achieved and be somewhere that I can look for inspiration and motivation. I’ve always found it hard to put myself out there, to let my personality come through, but this is one place I really want to express myself.

I’m also going to invest more time in this blog altogether, putting together a new theme, rather than using a pre-set. Setting up analytics, giving people a way to follow my blog, get used to using widgets and wordpress, have more of a social media presence.

Call my mum/family more

Since moving here, the time difference and work/play has made it somewhat difficult for me to call my family back home. But I really miss them, I miss my cat and I miss my friends. This year I’m going to try and call them at least once a week or more and update them on what’s going on in my life and what’s going on in theirs. Did I mention I miss my cat?

And my last goal of the year is,

To take better care of myself

I wouldn’t say that I haven’t taken care of myself, but compared to early last year and summer everything seems to have gone out the window. Since moving to Whistler, I’ve not had the best diet. The grocery stores here are expensive so naturally, to save money and time I’ve been eating out of a microwave. I also get free meals at work, which is great because it saves some $$. But our food is mostly breaded and deep fried. The good thing about working in the kitchen however, is that you can get a little bit more creative and make whatever you like. I’ve been trying to avoid the burgers and fries and instead having omelettes with veggies and a fruit cup.

I’d also like to get back into the gym, even if I just do 30 minutes every other day in the free gym at WB housing. There is free yoga on Tuesdays and Sundays that I’d like to take advantage of too. Or even if I just go for a walk somewhere every now and then. I want to take better care of both my physical and mental health.

So here’s to an even more amazing year!

Welcome to “From Adventure With Love”

Hello! Welcome to my very first blog post! I had no idea what to actually write here or how to start this blog, so I’ll just give some background about me and why I started this blog.

My name is Rachael and I’m currently 26. I know most young people go travelling at an earlier age but it’s something I’ve toyed with for a while and finally decided life was too short not to. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t travelled at all. When I was 21 I took my first flight/trip abroad by myself and worked in the United States for 3 months. Since then I’ve taken solo flights by myself more times than I can remember. And although I was so scared the first time there was something quite nice about going alone.

Right now I’m saving as much as I can before I finally jet off in a couple of months time. I have just accepted a job from Whistler Backcomb ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. This will be a completely new experience for me. I’ll finally see a country that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I will also have time to really get to experience everything Canadian as I’ll be there for a minimum of 6 months.

Travel is something that I’ve always been interested in. I took my first plane journey when I was 9 months old and many more after that. Other countries and cultures have always fascinated me, not to mention I’m a history geek. There is just something so fulfilling about seeing beautiful sights, monuments and landscapes with your own eyes.

So far I have visited 9 countries, including my own. And I’ve been to 6 US states (stopovers in Minneapolis, Dallas, Philadelphia and Charlotte don’t count!)

Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to gaze at the ceiling of the sistine chapel, get whipped by Krampus in Germany, watch the sunset from the Eiffel tower, take a river cruise through the Amsterdam canals, walk across the Charles Bridge and witness a family of wild Orca off the Californian coast. Travelling isn’t about ticking off countries or seeing who can see the most but about the memories you make.

This blog will be a documentation of where I’ve been, where I’m going and to share my stories and tips with others.

I am nervous, and very excited about starting my new journey and will experience lots of things for the first time, like staying in a hostel!