After a big fiasco at customs that I’d better not discuss in detail just in case the government really is watching, I made it on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I showed up at the terminal at 9am, planning to get on the 10:30 ferry, but they CBP agents so many questions for me that I missed the first boat and didn’t make it to the United States until about 5pm.
At some point early in the 6 weeks between my last exam and the day I left Canada, I said to a friend, “I love how I’m treating the fact that I have to get to Oregon soon as no big deal at all.”
You know, just playing the character: Cool, calm, collected solo female hitch hiker. Not afraid of anything. I play it so well sometimes that I believe it, but there was something about saying those words that day that flipped a switch.
“Oh shit,” I thought, “I have to say goodbye to everyone I know for a long time and hitch hike to southern Oregon in a few weeks.”
And so, my time for me turned (blissfully) into time for others. I went on a mad-dash around southern BC, clocking about 3000km, clawing after connection, having fun with far flung friends and family, but all with the shadow of how I wasn’t going to see them again for a long time hanging over us. Read More »
This summer turned out to be a lot of me saying, “I know I’m taking full time condensed courses, but yeah, I think I have time to fit that in.” I found time to take on a bunch of extra work, go to a festival, take several day-trips up the Sea to Sky, and I even squeezed in two weeks of backpacking into the one week I had off between classes. But no, I did not have time to blog. So now I’m faced with the gargantuan task of summing up the 3 months since my last post into something with few enough words that my brain– exhausted by the fact that I just finished a university degree (what?)– can handle concentrating on long enough to write.
So, of course there was the studying, the working, and the angst…
It’s June 1st and I have never been so stoked to celebrate an anniversary. Happy one year to my favourite duo of all time— Allie + Adventure!
June 1st, 2015 is the day that Adrian and I left our backyard home at The Palace for the United States of America, only to be escorted back to Canada by an entourage of six border guards. “You can’t tell a border guard that you quit your job and gave up your home to go travelling” was just the first of many lessons learned the hard way.
So what I have been doing for the past month is this: More, but mostly less living in Victoria and spending every spare day between sporadic Victoria-based commitments backpacking the island. One day, I was sitting around my mother’s house being generally depressed, when I decided that I should probably learn how to surf. Why? Because sometimes you just need to throw something new into your life, the weather had been pretty good, and I own a wetsuit that I don’t use enough.
My trip to Bamfield was only ever meant to be a stop on the way to Ucluelet, where I’d rent a giant beginner surf board and attempt to hitch hike with it to Long Beach. I was hoping to do some splashing around in the wash, get hit in the face a bunch, and maybe even catch a few waves. However, I got picked up at a gas station in Port Alberni and was invited to drink beer around a campfire by a nice guy called Uncle Dave. What can I say? I’m easily distracted.
After hitching a 2 hour ride down the logging road out of Port Alberni— full of potholes, narrow bridges, and enormous trucks— I arrived in Bamfield East. I had no good reason to go there, other than how I didn’t know a single thing about the place. I had even failed to realize that the road I would be taking wasn’t paved. All I knew was that it was there, at the end of the road, and that I wanted to be at the edge of the world. Also, there was only a 40% possibility of the precipitation, compared to the 70% in Ucluelet. That’s mostly why I went there.
I stepped out of the car under gloomy grey skies and wandered down to a park. The streets were empty, lined with boarded up buildings and boat trailers, and the park was not exactly worth the trip. It came as a shock when I ran into a woman getting the campground ready for summer.
“You can’t just come all this way and not see Bamfield West,” she said, as she poured gas into a generator. Bamfield West, she explained, was definitely the cooler half of town, but it was on a peninsula with no over-land access. The water taxi was 5 bucks, and once I was there, I could apparently walk wherever I wanted to go. She handed me a map and told me to go to the general store and ask them to call the guy who owned the boat for me.
All the familiar feelings came back— sore hip bones from the backpack, the paranoia about every tiny sound while I wait to fall asleep, the orgasmic release of satisfying my curiosity, and the inevitable craving for something to eat other than the food I packed.Read More »