So I’m sitting alone in a hotel room in Vang Vieng, Laos. I’ve got my first case of the runs since we left Switzerland 1 month, 3 weeks and 6 days ago. I’m considering myself fairly lucky since I’m the last of the family members to get it and usually I succumb within days of getting to a different country.
I have just updated my resource page. This page has app that I use regularly, items that we brought that I can’t live without and an updated map that you can see where we’ve been. I will be creating links to all of these items in the future but thought I’d just get this down first to get the ball rolling and get the site updated.
I will be posting blogs now about what followed the Camino in larger chunks of info and more about what I was and am feeling. I’m looking forward to be all caught up in real time so I can post in the moment what I’m feeling.
One thing I will say is that travelling is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It’s amazing, beautiful, stunning and such a growth experience. And with that comes hard times, having different expectations than your spouse, little alone time, and it’s just not as easy as you would think. Yesterday saw us in the very back of a mini van, driving way too fast along roads that were switchbacks, passing huge vehicles around corners, Violette throwing up from car sickness, me sick with worry and anxiety if we’re going to make it to our next destination and being absolutely powerless to do anything about it. Today I am missing Vang Vieng and surrounding area because I need to be near a toilet.
I will also say that while this is such an incredible opportunity, I miss Canada, my friends and my family so much. We are committed to being away until the middle of July but the thought has crossed my mind to head home early because the draw back home is so strong. I know things will be the same when I get back there but it doesn’t make me want to be back home any less.
Technically I completed my camino. But what I really wanted to do was end at the “end of the world” where the pilgrims used to come and burn their belongings. No, I didn’t want to burn my belongings (as it’s not allowed anymore) but I wanted to see where the pilgrims used to think it was the edge of the world.
Some people continue to walk out to this destination (another 3 days I believe) but since Luc and I only had 1 day, we took a tour bus out the coast.
I was covered in bed bug bites (100+) so it was a fairly uncomfortable day but the sites were incredible. It was so soul refreshing to see the ocean again and feel the breeze on my skin. It was cool in the morning but warm by the afternoon. I would highly recommend taking a day to do a tour out to Finisterre and surrounding area. We had a delicious seafood feast accompanied by some yummy beer. I had some antihistamine to stop the itch but it hadn’t really kicked in yet so it was a fairly challenging day as everywhere on my body was itchy.
It really was the perfect way to end this monstrously transformational journey. I know that I’m still processing everything that happened while I was on the way. Being in this place, really had my heart sing while the waves crashed. I took many reflective contemplative deep breaths. I remember telling myself “I did it.” “I’m so proud of you.” “This is now a part of who you are and who you are going to be.”
If you are at all thinking about doing the camino, the camino is for absolutely every single person on this planet. This walk is a walk that will connect you to you. Do it alone. Or do it with someone and meet up at the end of the day. This place is a place of growing, healing, transforming, uplifting, soul filling, breathing, walking, hiking, joy, laughter, music, transcendence, love, and acceptance.
You will have challenging times. That’s for certain. But in those difficult moments, you will learn everything you need to learn. You may ask “why must this happen to me? What is there to learn in this moment?” And the answer might only come later.
You will meet people who will change you and your outlook on life. People who will make an incredible difference to you by caring for you even though you don’t know them. Those people will remind you of your humanity and love.
You will see incredible vistas that connect you to the earth.
What you want to create, will be there for you to create. If you want to live outside your comfort zone, this will be it. If you want to heal, this will help in the healing process. If you want to learn more about yourself, all there is to do is learn about who you are. If you want to be closer to god or spirit, the way will provide this to you. If you’re looking for love, love is all around. If you desire deep connection, friendship and partnership is there for you.
Whenever I hear that someone is going to go on their first camino, I get a little teary eyed just thinking about what an incredible opportunity awaits them for whatever it is that they are going for.
Please reach out to me if you want to discuss more. I love to talk about my experience.
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.
Tofino and Ucluelet have some wonderful wonderful places to eat! Extra bonus: lots and lots of seafood! Yum!
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
We 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!
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.