A weekend away in Tofino and Ucluelet, BC

Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse route

Luc and I thought we would do one last trip to the rugged West Coast before we leave, just the two of us.

Tofino has always held such a beautiful place in my soul. So many memories growing up. Chesterman’s beach has been where my spirit retreats to when I think of a warm peaceful place in my heart.

In my influential years, I slept in my car for an entire weekend in the long beach parking lot while me and my girlfriend searched all weekend long for our two friends (they had taken off to another island without phone service). I’ve camped in my Volkswagen van on the side of many roads in and around Tofino. I’ve done tequila shots off a surf board around a camp fire at Chesterman’s beach, fallen asleep in front of the fire with my friends and had one of my friends sleeping bags catch on fire (he was ok but what a way to wake up!). So many many memories. And I feel like as I’ve grown up, so has Tofino. All of the things I just mentioned, would never happen now. Tofino is very regulated now as far as fires, camping and public drinking goes.

Anyway, back to last weekend, Luc and I took off for a weekend of reconnection to each other and the West Coast of Vancouver Island. In typical Luc fashion, he forgot a pretty integral piece of clothing when visiting the wet coast – a rain jacket. This provided no end of laughter for me throughout the weekend. What was priceless was watching him hike for 11KM’s with a massive golf umbrella.

FOOD/Restaurant

Tofino and Ucluelet have some wonderful wonderful places to eat! Extra bonus: lots and lots of seafood! Yum!

Hanks BBQ
This photo stared at me the entire time I was eating.

Hank’s BBQ, Ucluelet

Our first meal was out of this world delicious! The ambiance in the restaurant was pretty eclectic – Luc and I had no trouble singing along to most of the songs. Great beer choices too! I’d say this was our most expensive dinner but probably because we ordered two drinks each, two appies and one main meal to share.

Feast Tofino 8th Annual Dock Festival

We were lucky enough to be there when Feast Tofino was happening. While the weather was less than desirable for an outdoor food experience, it was so freaking delicious. We paid $25 each for 10 tickets. Those tickets would get you one little sample of food from different restaurants and hotels from around Tofino. All seafood and fish based delicacies. Absolute heaven. Live music while you stuffed your face.

It was hosted by Chef Lynn Crawford and featured culinary teams from the Wickaninnish InnLong Beach Lodge ResortShelter RestaurantJamie’s Rainforest InnSOBORuby Watchco, and the Tofino Resort + Marina.

Feast Tofino! Feast Tofino!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Loaf Bake Shop, Tofino

This rustic bakery has been a part of my life for over 25 years and not surprisingly it hasn’t changed much. They still take cash only at the till. Super fresh baked goods with piping hot coffee. When you come to this bakery, you want to just grab your book, and chill out. Slow down. You’re on Tofino time. Definitely worth a visit to grab a java and some baked goods for your breakfast tomorrow or a snack today.

Floathouse view
View from outdoor eating area at the floathouse.

Floathouse Patio and Grill, Ucluelet

Our last dinner didn’t disappoint. This restaurant floats which makes it pretty unique. While eating outside would definitely have been better for ambiance it was too damn cold! So we sat inside and enjoyed great food and our server Emma from Australia was wonderful.

Tacofino, Tofino

Our last stop before taking off was at the most tasty food truck this side of the 49th parallel. The original truck that started it all off for Tacofino definitely was worth the wait. And the line up was long! No surprise though cuz the food is out of this world. Outdoor seating is all there is with two big long tables to share your meal and space with like minded foodies! Be sure to stop here at least once while in the Pacific Rim.

Tacofino 2018 Tacofino 2018

Drink

Tofino Brewery
2 Flights!

Tofino Brewing Co, Tofino

We stopped in here to take a couple of delicious flights and to dry off and get out of the rain. The place was buzzing and we grabbed the last two seats. Before long it was really busy in there! Super fun and a warm feeling where people are there to experience their liquid gold. I highly recommend to stop in here if you are interested in beer tasting and micro breweries. One of the tasters even had kelp in it! We’re still really confused why the Ucluelet restaurants don’t carry this beer but they carry Victoria and Whistler beer… we think there might be a bit of a feud happening but we’re just not sure…

Pacific Rim Distilling, Ucluelet

This place was so quaint. The guy who owned it was 3rd or 4th generation distiller. He was just about to close up for the day but let us sample his distilled vodka. I believe he said that he had been open for a week but has been selling out constantly. I would stop by here and say hi to Luke on the way through Ukee!

Hiking

Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet

We hiked 11KM’s along this beautiful well kept trail. Where we got on the trail, it was very close to many different hotels and resorts which we commented on that it definitely didn’t feel like we were out and alone like you do when you’re hiking in East Sooke Park. At some point the resorts fall away and then you’re more alone which is nice.

Every turn has a bench or look out that is breath taking. At one of the parking lots, you can borrow a walking stick that has been left there for others to use. Be prepared to take lots of photos and it will take you longer than you expect to walk it. We just kinda got carried away with the beauty of it all.

Wild Pacific Trail, Lighthouse Loop, Ucluelet

A smaller loop (2.6KM’s I believe) which winds in a circle to the lighthouse. It’s really very beautiful with a lot of placards along the way that you can read about the history of the shipwrecks, birds, trees and your surroundings. There is a pole along the trail that is dedicated to love locks that people have placed many locks on it.

 

Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino

As I’ve said before this is my all time favourite beach. When you look inside your heart to find the most beautiful peaceful place in the world you’ve been, Chesterman’s is that for me. White sand, surfers, jutting rocks, long walks, kids playing in the ocean, and Frank Island. There’s something so mystical about this beach. When you’re there, be sure to close your eyes, and stop and listen to all that is happening around you: the people, kids, churn of the ocean, wind, smell the surf, birds, and sun or rain on your face.

 

Airbnb

Get $45 CAD off your first adventure for FREEWe stayed at a wonderful Airbnb in Ucluelet called the “Surf N Stay” tucked in the back of a property on a quiet street. It was walking distance to Ucluelet and to the Wild Pacific Trail. While you could hear people walking above your head quite easily, it was really the perfect spot for us to use as a home base for the weekend.

Airbnb is a wonderful way to travel and see more of the culture of the place you are visiting. You feel like you’re one of the locals when you’re staying in locals homes. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, I highly recommend it. And please use our travel link. Using our link will get you $45 CAD in free travel credit and we receive $25 CAD. Win win!

Reflection

Luc was pretty heart broken to not have sunshine while we were there but if you think about it, Tofino and Ukee are best known for their wet and rainy weather so we got the full authentic experience. We went there to connect back to nature, the West Coast beauty, and for me – my roots. The Pacific Rim helps me to connect with my life force and love.

I had a wonderful time with Luc full of laughter (maybe at his expense), love and connection. We even saw a bear on the way back. I believe that when you set your intention for what you want to get out of your journey, all that there is left to do is open your mind to what you want to experience, and hand it over to the universe to create that for you, you let go of how it has to go and just open up your heart and soul to how it will unfold.

I will miss you my beautiful rugged west coast. You hold my heart, love, space, and life force. Until we meet again.

Less than 3 months…

to do list

Wow, it’s sinking in more and more… I’m going to be leaving. Sometimes it hits me in waves, other times like a truck. For soooo long it’s been just a project to get to July 19th. So much stuff to do. Like stuff you never thought of that you had to do, we’ve done it. It’s also totally possible that we’ve done way more than we “had” to.

Not long ago, we really started getting asked more and more “Are you excited? You must be so excited.” To be honest the first thought that would come to my mind was “there’s so much to do”. Which then had me feeling guilty for not being excited, for not being grateful for this amazing opportunity, for actually considering the stuff to do, was a burden.

Wow, that’s when I knew I really wanted to shift how I was relating to the to-do list. If you remember, I got a tattoo of the word “journey” on my arm. Yeah pretty hard to forget that this is all my journey through life, even the daily grind.

When I forgot Violette’s birth certificate and didn’t notice until I had stood in line for 15 mins at the passport office on my flex day only to realize that I’d have to come back again two weeks later with the passport. As annoying as that is, it’s also part of the journey. And when I returned 2 weeks later and the woman at the passport office quite clearly was missing some happiness in her life, I could have easily looked at this as how much I really didn’t want to be there anymore than she did, but instead I zoomed a little extra love her way.

This journey has already started.

More recently, I’ve been looking at how Luc and I communicate with each other. We’ve did a very little bit of relationship coaching with Ruth Sowter from Intimacy for Intrepid Souls the other night. First of all, she’s amazing and offers 1 hour free sample coaching sessions for couples. Secondly, she helped us to distinguish a new practice for how we will operate when it comes to determining how we’re going to make a decision.

It’s so interesting, you would think after 14 years together, we’d be on some sort of common understanding. Oh god no. And it’s things like planning a trip around the world that really tests that. Luc loves to do a ton or research and come up with the best logical plan. Thank god for him because research is not my forte. I more like to move with how I feel in the moment and that doesn’t always jive with logic and research.

For example:

  • After we are finished in the South of France I could have come back to Switzerland for 2 days before going to Spain to walk the Camino. It would have cost the exact same amount. Logically, why wouldn’t I? I could drive for an hour back to his parents, see Violette’s first day of school, drop off some stuff, drive back another hour to the airport and then start my walk. Same price. But instead, I chose to just go straight to the Camino. Mostly because I didn’t want to fly back and forth, and I just wanted to get walking. Neither way is right or wrong. And notice if you sided one way or the other. 🙂

So we determined through the coaching, that we would state our feelings and research and what we each wanted to do. Then we would really check-in: is this something that I need to have go my way today? Am I tired and just want to lounge on the beach? Could I do my own thing? Or could I choose powerfully to do what he’s suggesting because it really doesn’t matter to me. On a scale of 1-10, aligning with our intentions for our trip, where do we see this falling? Worst case, if we both dig our heels in, a coin toss (or Violette) makes the choice.

It might seem so small. But these conversations are important to sort out before you get into these scenarios or trust, love, connection and communication are thrown into the mix (the above example we hadn’t had coaching at that point so Luc couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to do his logical suggestion). And by no means are we going to master this… but we’re practicing and hopefully together we’ll find more communication,  support and ease along the journey.

And there you go… be ready to read about what we’re up to – but with a twist. You’ll get a bit deeper into our lives, how I’m growing, being outside my comfort zone and how that feels; essentially more authenticity and vulnerability than a regular travel blog. I want to share not just the nice stuff but the humanity I face, being ok with failing at things, and that the journey is not always a straight line. After all, I’m a life coach that is travelling… this whole experience is one big growth, love, connection and joy project.

Get ready 🙂

to do list

Outside the Comfort Zone Podcast: Hilary Fairbank

Outside the Comfort Zone

I’m thrilled to be joined by my friend, neighbour, and a beautiful human on our planet.

Hilary is a Registered Technologist of Nuclear Medicine who’s passionate about the human body functionally. She believes whole heartedly in exploring a more balanced holistic approach to health and wellness to included physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. As a flourishing entrepreneur with a growing business she is excited to continue on her path of helping others to restore balance in their lives.

Visit her Facebook group at Health and Wellness with Hilary, or find her at her Valentus webpage.

3 bedroom, 1 bathroom fully furnished suite on main level for rent

Our suite is for rent as we’re leaving for a year! It’s starting to get really real now!

This is a one year rental August 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 for the main part of our house. $2222/month some utilities included.

Fully furnished suite on the main level is a great house for a family. Hard wood and cork flooring through out. 2 queen beds and a twin. The bedroom with the twin bed is doubling as an office and does not have a closet. Bathroom has shower/bath and double sink.

Wide and bright open concept living room with two couches, gas fireplace and 55in big screen TV. The  kitchen has a gas stove, dishwasher, microwave, oven, double door fridge and freezer.

Master bedroom has windows that are south facing and a sliding glass door out to the deck overlooking the backyard. Perfect for star gazing. Laundry is shared with the other tenants.

Entrance is a separate mudroom with double glass doors out to the deck. Large deck with arbor, Wisteria and grape vines.

Detached double garage with green house in the back to plant tomatoes, peppers, etc…
Big backyard with a cherry tree, 2 apple trees, and a pear tree. There is a brick fire place in the backyard with plenty of wood to burn.

Large driveway, parking area. Plenty of gardens if you like to grow veggies/fruits. There are raspberry and logan berry growing on the side of the garage ready for you to eat.

Lots of privacy. Family friendly neighbourhood. 

  • Bus 72 to Downtown 5 min walk
  • Groceries etc. 20min walk 
  • 25-30 min to Downtown. (no traffic jam)
  • 15min to Airport and BC Ferries. 
  • Awesome elementary French-immersion school 5min walking distance. Looking for a family looking to stay in Victoria for the 2018-19 school year.

Please tell us about yourself and provide references when sending your application.

C’est la vie!

C'est la vie

My dear husband, Luc, after many months of research and editing, has launched a YouTube channel that will showcase cooking Video’s with Violette and himself. The idea is for them to source locally grown food where ever possible, to teach in French, and for the two of them to move around the world cooking as they go.

I think it’s possible that the channel will include other things than cooking but for now that’s the focus.

I’m so proud of them! I know that they’ve got a couple of other videos waiting in the wings that have already been created, now they just need to be put together. I can’t wait to watch them create together!

I’m also very proud of Luc learning to do something that is outside of his comfort zone.

Without further adieu, here is the kick start video for C’est La Vie! Enjoy!

Please subscribe and like the video. Please also share it far and wide on your social media streams!

Island Parent Submission #2: Trip around the world: getting into the nitty gritty

travel

This is being submitted to Island Parent for publishing.


Last time I wrote, I let you peek inside the realm of what it takes to go on a trip around the world. I’m going to break down some of the bigger topics like money, world schooling and what to do with your home.

Money

How much money does one actually need to travel the world? My husband, Luc, created a spreadsheet that had the daily cost to budget when travelling to different countries. Estimate how long you will be in each country and multiply that by the daily cost and that will give you an estimate. Lonely Planet is a great resource to find out how much the daily costs are in certain countries.

Slow travel is something to look into. Not only is it cheaper, it also integrates you more into the daily life and culture of a country. You no longer are visiting somewhere, you’re living in it.

Airplanes/trains/boats are expensive! Look for credit cards that give you cash back, or where you can redeem points for travel. We got a credit card that had a big signing bonus of points and we were able to travel from Victoria and New York for a family of 4 for approx $75 (one way).

Look for places you can stay for cheap or free. We’re staying in a studio apartment that Luc’s dad owns in the South of France. We also will be living with them for 4 months in Switzerland (big savings!). You can’t go wrong with Airbnb either.

Sell your stuff. Start as soon as you commit to travelling. All that money adds up!

Schooling

I was surprised when we talked to our principal of Violette’s elementary school how easy it is to pull your child from our school district. I believe Violette will be transferrer to SIDES (South Island Distance Education School) while she is away so we can take advantage of any long distance resources we might need.

I am definitely not an expert by any means on world schooling and there are many different terms when it comes to this: unschooling, home schooling, world schooling… the list goes on. I don’t believe there is a strict way we will be doing this. I also believe that it really depends on the age of your kids too. It’s quite different if your child is in grade 2 versus grade 10.

How we will be doing it is going to be a combination. We will teach a lot by doing, interests, visiting museums, asking lots of questions, using our 5 senses, learning in the moment and observing different environments. I’m looking forward to opportunities to learn about nature, different money, patterns, reading, being curious and finding the answers. We will look into khanacademy.org, SIDES distance learning and the BC curriculum to support us. We will bring electronic books and try to find libraries where we can.

The world will be our classroom to learn!

Your home

What to do with your home? If you rent, consider ending the tenancy or subletting if that’s allowed. If you own, now comes the big decision of what to do. Do you sell or keep? If you keep it, do you rent it out? Who looks after the property. I’m not going to lie, this part of the puzzle has been the most challenging for us. We have changed our minds so much on this, I actually thought that we weren’t going to go because this part was just to hard to figure out.

We decided to rent out our house and we’ve enlisted one of our friends to “property manage” the place while we’re away. Currently, we’re getting the place ready fixing, cleaning, packing. If you can believe it, our ceiling and hot water tank both decided to start leaking in the same week. When it rains it pours. Luc continues to remind me that it’s better it’s happening now. Yes, and we still have so much to do!

We have also chosen to rent the suite fully furnished so that we don’t have to store our big belongings. This works for us.

This entire process has been a journey of learning, creating, being open to other opinions and ideas.

If you have a passion to travel and you have kids, a job, a house and feel like there’s no way you could even consider a trip around the world until you retire, I’m here to say, you can do it. All that’s stopping you is just the logistics of how to make it happen. It’s all possible – I promise.

Island Parent Submission: #1: Trip around the world

Journey

This is being submitted to Island Parent for publishing.


My family and I are going on a trip around the world. It sounds so crazy to say that. It’s like a dream come true.

We’ve had the idea about 5 years ago, and we’ve been planning it for about 2 years. We are now 4 months away from leaving. It’s getting real.

I have a 7 year old daughter, Violette who is in French Immersion. My husband is from France/Switzerland. I also have an 18 year old daughter who is on the other side of the country going to university. My husband and I both have full time jobs which we’re taking 1 year leave of absences from.

Violette, who is Canadian/Swiss, will go to school in Switzerland for 5 months at a French speaking school and then we will world school her after that (I’d be lying if I said I know what I’m doing).

I will walk the 800km Camino de Santiago in Spain at the end of August. It will take approximately 40 days. A journey within a journey.

The voyage hasn’t even started and yet it has in so many ways… it’s a journey of the heart and soul, a journey to seeing what is outside your comfort zone, a journey in relationship with my family, friends and work. A journey to entrepreneurship as I started my own business as a life coach to support our travels while we experience the world.

I’ve been asked a lot about a few key pieces of the prep and the trip. I’ve shared them here in priority of what comes up most.

  • Budgeting: How much money does one need on a trip like this? We created a budget to save money and another budget for while we’re on the road to know how much money you anticipate spending. This enabled us to know where we could scrimp and save prior to leaving. And then how we can ensure we stretch our dollars/euro/francs/etc… the furthest.
  • Our home: Are we going to rent it out or sell it? We will be renting it out. Currently we’re getting it ready to post and find our perfect renters. We have spent days working on the house, fixing, cleaning, repairing.
  • Our child: What are we going do for schooling? We are pulling Violette out of grade 2. This is quite easy in our school district. We spoke with the principal and she has given us lots of ideas and resources. We hope Violette will be a pen pal to her friends at school for her to practice her writing and keep those important connections and relationships.
  • Our jobs: What are we doing with our jobs? We’re taking a 1 year leave of absence. Something for you to consider is: could you quit your job or find a location independent job? Could you work remotely? There are a lot of websites out there now that support location independent lifestyles. While on the road I will continue to life coach and Luc is going to be looking for jobs along the way. He’s also starting up his own YouTube channel soon with Violette. They will be father/daughter cooking around the world.
  • The itinerary: Where do you want to go? Think cheap to start… Thailand or Vietnam. Could you stay with friends or family in distant countries? Also consider slow travel to make the money go further. We will be spending about half our time in European countries and then heading over to South East Asia, Indonesia and Australia.
  • Our friends and family: When did we tell them? We started telling people about a year ago. This helps to socialize it early for people to get used to you leaving. Also, throw a big going away party for them before you go.
  • Many many extra things to think about: Visas, what to pack (you’re going to be gone for 4 seasons and only one backpack? This makes my head spin), mail, travel insurance, vaccinations, passports, automating monthly payments, cancelling your cell phone and all businesses that know that number, and so much more.

It’s a lot of work and a lot to think about, and it’s all worth it. Sometimes it feels like the preparation is never going to end but before we know it, we will be leaving on a jet plane in July.

My journey and the lotus

Lotus and journye tattoo

Sometimes the universe just brings it all together.

Yesterday I went and got a new tattoo. I LOVE IT. I haven’t even showed my husband it yet (I might be nervous of his judgement – I can own that).

The tattoo is of a lotus with the word “Journey” incorporated.

The lotus has two meanings for me:

  1. “With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.” This symbolism to me represents growth, flourishing, beauty.
  2. It also symbolizes to me that we can overcome obstacles on our journey.

Which leads into the word “Journey”.

This morning I got to go on a walk in the rain and wind with a beautiful human. She asked me about the journey I’ve been on. What timing since I just got this tattoo last night.

It was such an honor to be able to recount where I’ve come from to where I am now. The mud that I’ve come through to be that beautiful flower. Every day something new I’m learning about myself. Every day I get to learn about myself from the people who come into my life. I see myself reflected back in them and the journey that they are on. The re-invention of myself every day.

I see my personal journey as one that will never be over. That excites me! I see where I was 10 months ago as a scared little girl (this might not be your experience of me – it’s me who lives inside my head) to someone now with so much love, freedom, peace, play and joy. The part that excites me is what could possibly come next?! I’ve been living more and more outside of my comfort zone to find out where I can push myself just a little bit further.

And finally “journey” represents the journey that we’re going on. This life that I’m up to creating out in the world. Exploring the world. Experiencing ups and downs. The journey of the Camino. The journey that hasn’t happened yet. The one that got me to here. There is so much possibility in my journey.

Lotus and journye tattoo

Gratitude

Youre going to Paris

This post is hard to write. Mostly because I’m afraid of what you’re going to think. I think you’re going to think that I’m bragging or wanting everyone to know how great my life is.

That’s not it at all. I think what I want you to know is that it’s just hit me, that I do have an incredible life. I’ve known it all along, but the lightbulb went off and has shifted my entire perspective. Entirely.

I’m so so so so grateful for this incredible life I have. What really hit home was something that happened yesterday. I woke up and there was an email in my inbox that read:

Youre going to Paris

And it hit me like a ton of bricks. My dream is coming true. We’re making it happen. How incredibly lucky I am to have such an amazing life to see this message in my inbox. How grateful I am for the chance to see this city and so many others. How fortunate I am to be here in this moment and have everything that I have.

So while I’m sharing, I’ll share that we have plane tickets now for Nice, France and Biarritz, Spain. Biarritz is the start of the Camino de Santiago which also means I’M DOING THE CAMINO. No shit, no kidding now. I might be alone, I might be with others; regardless, it’s happening.

I spent the rest of yesterday (and will carry this forward now as a practice) being so immensely grateful for what I have. I had an opportunity to thank the postman so I acknowledged him. I said hi to every single person I walked past yesterday. I was fortunate enough to go on a date night (which Luc scheduled – so grateful for that) and there was live music so I thanked the musician and gave him some money. The woman who served me, Carmen, was so wonderful and spent so much time chatting with us and joking.Jesse (who I’ve met once) called me and he wants to workout with me to support me with my health and fitness goals. I coached yesterday with my AMAZING coach Maria who I am over the moon with gratitude for her beautiful soul and the contribution she is for me and my life.

My heart is wide open with the gratitude and love that I have for everyone in my life and all that I have.

So while I don’t want you to know how amazing a life I have because I’m afraid you’ll judge me – I also need to say it – mostly for myself. I’m excited for what I’m creating and I’m so incredibly grateful for what I have and every single person in my life.