Sunday, August 13, 2017

Vancouver Island Wrap-up

Sometimes the timing is off or the expectations are too unrealistic or our own quirks become too quirky. When this happens, to write about all things vacation being perfect is dishonest or at the very least, pretty darn Pollyannaish. Traveling is wonderful, but not always. Out of synch happens. Take our most recent sojourn on Vancouver Island.

The first scapegoat for any traveling discomfort is the weather. Ed and I always play with it a bit, and delight in heading to higher or lower elevations or going south or north, to find "ideal". On this trip we simply have not been able to get it quite right, moving from sweltering to shivering throughout most days. We'd head up off the coast to escape the cold seashore fog, and bake. We'd go back down to the beach to escape the heat, and freeze. We've turned into crazy yo-yos of discontent.

Add mosquitoes to the equation and the complexity intensifies. In the woods the mosquitoes fiercely attack, leaving red welts on top of red welts. During the night I turn into a crazy whirling maniac with fits of itching. To avoid more bites we hide out in Thistle, but that is confining and hot, plus the mosquitoes still sneak in. Sleeping with even one mosquito in Thistle is challenging and hearing the telltale buzzing, I dive under the blanket. Waking up hot and sweaty, I throw off the blanket to cool off, but soon I am chilled, so seek cover again. Throughout, the mosquitoes feast. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And then, what were we thinking? The crowds of August vacationers caught us off guard. We have done so much traveling in the off season, we had somehow misplaced our recollection of summer vacationers. People are as thick as the mosquito bites on my body, overflowing the beaches, highways, ferries, coffee shops, and campgrounds. The people we've encountered are quite lovely, there are just way too many for my spoiled country ways. I avoid Langley in the summer, and definitely stay away from Seattle, why did I think Vancouver Island would be different?

And finally, change has unexpectedly caught me in its grip. I anticipated finding the small, quaint towns I remembered from 30 plus years ago changed but not too changed. Ha. Take Sooke. This tiny town I stopped at when cycling the Galloping Goose all those many years ago is no longer tiny. Sooke has sprawled every which way and is plagued with bumper to bumper traffic. I am critical of people's resistance to change in the political world, yet here I am trapped in my own mindset of "what it was" in the physical world.

We have seen many wonderful parts of Vancouver Island and greatly enjoyed many of our destinations, but as vacations go I was caught off guard enough to examine my ideal. I was forced into self reflection. Our dear friend, Greg's words rang in my ears: "No expectations, no disappointments."

And, a final word for travel on Vancouver Island -- take a boat!

Any boat…


It's the rugged shorelines and small off shore islands and abundant wildlife and hundreds of lovely little lakes that are the drop dead wonders of this place. A boat enhances the experience, as I know from previous trips, but failed to fully appreciate until I found myself without a boat.


“Everything that looks too perfect is too perfect to be perfect.”

~ Dejan Stojanovic


  1. in my travels up into that neck of the woods, I always found the west BC coast "the Sunshine Coast Route" out of Horseshoe Bay, with multiple ferries, all the way to Malispina Inlet, Lund, Secret Cove, Skookumchuk Narrows, ... to be much more beautiful, with the small towns ... my preferred BC travel ... and of course, by boat of any type... from Lund out to the Copeland Islands and around the Point into Desolation Sound. I too have found the drive up Vancouver's coast to be long, and disappointing.

  2. Yes, we now know, what we should have already known. I almost learned to hate the dense forests, destroyed by over cutting, always blocking any horizon on both sides of the road.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have difficulty writing about the lows of our travels not knowing exactly how to frame them. Even though we did not have ideal weather, I am glad we visited Vancouver Island in October = no crowds or mosquitos! J

    And a toast to off-season travel…here here.

    Take care,

  4. It is difficult to write about the less than perfect, but long ago, Ed and I determined that vacations are often more adventures than vacations and have difficult elements to overcome. I do work on the tone though. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, because that's not my intent. I just want to represent clearly that there can be struggles along the way. Best, Fran