…and a long overdue update!!
I’m SO sorry I fell off the wagon with the updates on my Canada trip. I had the greatest of intentions – I promise! – but then the universe began a bit of a pile on and the wheels fell off.
The big item, personally, is that we’ve been preparing to move house (in mid-Feb) which has involved not only packing/chucking stuff but also finding a new place to live.
Added to that, my sister (who has multiple sclerosis – MS) will need to start a new treatment, in hospital, right at the time our lease is due to end! 😬 Which meant we would be potentially moving out of place A, moving into place B (yet to be found!), massive move out clean of place A, and driving my sister to-and-from the Gold Coast every day… all in the one week! 😱 Cue stress overload!
Thankfully, we found out today that our lease at our current place will be extended an additional month. That will allow us more time to find a new place, get my sister’s treatment done with, and get moved without sending us into nervous breakdown territory. PHEWWW…
On top of all that has been the horrifying news, videos and images of my country burning in these horrendous bushfires. (I haven’t been personally affected, thank god, but seeing so much devastation is like a punch to the gut.) When the news, day in and day out, is so heart-wrenching it’s hard to find the motivation to be creative or upbeat. The fire situation has eased somewhat – for now – but fires are STILL burning around the country and we still have the rest of summer to get through yet. February, historically, is bloody awful for bushfires. I’m just hoping that’s not the case this year… 🥺
If you would like to donate to the bushfire causes, I’ll pop some links at the bottom of this post.
Anyway, all of THAT *gestures above* is why I haven’t been updating. Online, at least. I have lots of the trip stuff written down (yes, I still rely on ye olde pen and paper when on holiday!) so I just need to type it up.
Rockies Premium Tour, Day 2 will be up this weekend! (It’s a long weekend in Australia so I have a bit more time up my sleeve!)
Donate to the Australian bushfires
WIRES – NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Emergency Services
Foodbank (providing essential supplies to survivors)
GIVIT’s Bushfire Appeal
Victorian Bushfire Appeal
SA Bushfire Appeal
RSPCA – NSW and VIC
ABC.net.au – List of charities/services helping the communities
30 September 2019
My third full day in Canada started super early to meet the Discover Canada Tours group and tour bus at Canada Place. (Out of the 25+ people on the bus, over half a dozen were Australian. 😂) Our guides were Joe and Matt. The tour I chose was the 5 days Rockies Premium Tour and so glad I did. The tour hit all the major spots of the Canadian Rockies that I wanted to see/visit plus a few I wasn’t even aware of!
You’d never believe it but 12 hours on a bus? Actually a LOT more tiring than you’d think!
Vancouver, BC to Revelstoke, BC
I’m going to hit this with reasonably short and sharp bits because we did quite a few spots and saw a LOT heading up into the mountains. Plus the tour was (now) three months ago 😭 and my memory ain’t what it used to be! (Note to self: Please start writing place names down.)
Our first stop mid-morning-ish was Hope, BC which is famous for being a main shooting location for the original “Rambo”. Hope is also making a name for itself in wood carving, with an incredible amount of wood carvings/statues all over town! Something worth seeing – some of the craftsmanship is truly remarkable. Particularly as they do them with chainsaws, not a chisel and hammer or whatever! 😳
(Apologies for the blurriness in the wood carving photos – I was having trouble getting my camera to focus as the bus was going past)
We left Hope and hadn’t even hit the mountains when we had snow on the side of the road! Keeping in mind that this was the last day of September and technically still ‘summer driving’… 🤷♀️
My second full day in Canada I did a Landsea Tours day trip – the Peak & Canyon tour – to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. I soon discovered that the difference in temperature between sea level and up a mountain can be significant! A beautiful but chilly day on the mountain. (‘Chilly’ may be underselling it – it was FREEZING! When those winds get up – brrrr!)
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Our first stop was Capilano Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. I can tell you with complete honesty that it felt like it too! Let’s just say that this stop is not for those with a fear of heights. Or swing bridges. With the amount of people on it, it had a tendency to feel like a bouncy castle masquerading as a bridge… 😅
Happy New Year! 🎉 We’re well into the evening of the first day of January, here in Australia, so I’m taking the opportunity to wish you all a WONDERFUL 2020. I hope it brings you happiness, health and whatever else you may wish for!
I spent much of last night getting my plans in place, writing out my goals for this year. I’m feeling more focused than I have in… ever. I’ll be holding on to that feeling as long as I can.
I want 2020 to be a Big Year for me. I have high hopes and right now I’m full of determination to make it happen.
So, 2020, you’re on notice. I’m coming for you.
What are you hoping to achieve/do this year?
Trip: 27 September – 13 October 2019
Where to even begin with my Canadian travels? I was there for 16 *insert appropriately glowing adjective here* days and it was absolutely not long enough. I fell in love with this amazing country. (Yeah, I’ve said that about all my overseas trips – not sure if I just love travel or if I’m THAT good at picking awesome countries to visit… 😜)
I left Brisbane on 27 September and, after a short layover in Auckland and a looong flight, arrived in Vancouver the same day. Timezones are CRAZY. It worked out to be about 22 hours travel, from the time I left Brisbane airport until the time I arrived in Vancouver. Thankfully, my jet lag was not as bad as expected, possibly because I could sleep comfortably on my AirNZ flight. Business class makes soooooo much difference! 🖤
Tip: If at all possible, try and keep your travel dates flexible. I lucked out big time and snagged business class fares ON SALE! The tickets were only a few hundred $$$ more than premium economy fares through other airlines. Um, no brainer! I know it’s not always possible to be flexible but if you can manage it, it can be worth it.
My trip consisted of:
- a few days in Vancouver to myself
- a 5-day tour with Discover Canada Tours (Vancouver to Rockies return, including Revelstoke, Banff + many other spots which made my photographer heart happy!)
- about a week back in Vancouver, post-tour
- two performances of the Rock the Rink tour, one in Abbotsford and one in Vancouver
- my first NHL game! (Vancouver Canucks vs LA Kings)
- day trips to Grouse Mountain, Victoria and Vancouver Island, and Whistler with Landsea Tours
- whale watching!
The trip was a LOT but so worth it. I don’t know when/if I’ll get back to Canada anytime soon so I was determined to try and do as much as I could in the time I was there (while keeping in mind that I was also solo travelling).