The Rugged West Coast: Tofino & Ucluelet

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Daryl and I recently took off on a road trip to the beautiful, rugged west coast of Vancouver Island for the annual Whale Festival.  Pure Bliss.  We both grew up in Vancouver, and have traveled a lot in this province.  You would think that some of the scenery would become common place, but the beauty of the west coast still seems to catch me off guard.   So, just in case you’re headed there in the near future… we thought a list of some of the hot spots would be in order.

Top 5 Things About the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

1. Whale-Watching & Boat Rides

Short vacations mean that you get to splurge a little.. or at least I can rationalize pulling out my Visa a little more frequently.  This explains how we ended up on a boat in the middle of the open ocean to witness the annual migration of 20,000 gray whales from Mexico to Alaska, with Ron, the most delightful guide from Ocean Outfitter Adventures (no free plug here..we paid a small fortune).   Not only did we see amazing scenery, sea lions, otters, seals, bald eagles and many cute little birds, but we spotted 4 gray whales that measured up to 50 feet long moving through the water.  Amazing!   ** Apparently the trip to the hot springs by boat is supposed to be well worth it as well.

2. Pacific Rim National Park

Incredible set of trails that are extremely well kept, that follow ocean coastlines, bogs, and rainforests.  We walked the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, and the views were spectacular.

3. Gorgeous Beaches

So apparently people actually surf here even in the winter.  Not a chance I’m getting a 5-inch wetsuit on my body, but there are many people much more hardcore than we are hitting the waves each day.  The beaches are incredibly beautiful to walk along, and you can beachcomb for mussels and oyster shells along the way.

4. Super Friendly People

And I’m not just saying this because I locked my keys in the trunk and the tow truck arrived to help me in less than 20 minutes.  This is a laid-back town filled with many happy and relaxed people that were incredibly helpful.  And also political — this is a town with very diverse opinions on environmental issues, which is always interesting.

5. Best Fish & Chips of My Life

Yup. I said it. Even better than the fish and chips I ate in New Zealand that came in newspaper.  The Wildside Grill takes the award. Panko crusted oysters and fresh ling cod that were caught that day.  Yes please.

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And the Journey Begins!

First post.  This is a bit nerve-wracking.

Where to begin…well, the idea for this blog came to us on a beach in Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  How original right?  Two thirty-somethings writing gratuitous posts about how they galavant around the world while other people are stuck at work.  While it may seem at times that we work in order to travel, we are here to prove that your dreams of adventure don’t have to die with a 9 to 5 job. 

This blog is designed to remind us that our careers and travel can co-exist — that backpacking isn’t just for gap year students.. for young people.. or for hippies.  Times have changed a bit for both of us.  Daryl now showers on a regular basis on his trips, and I am have been known to stuff more than one pair of high heels in my pack…. A 16-person dorm room now sounds like a terrible kind of hell to both us, and we will splurge on a taxi to get us to the train station rather than walk 3 miles in the blazing sun to save 10 dollars.  However, we are proof that your vacations can be filled with adventure, surprises, and wide-open itineraries at any age, and time of your life.

We know that there are thousands of travel blogs out there in the world wide webs, and many that are much wittier and more articulate than ours.   But… we have amassed some pretty amazing stories over the years, and this is a chance for us to write about some of the funny, frustrating, mind-blowing and meaningful moments we’ve experienced.  It’s also a chance for us to share some travel tips for those that might be embarking on their own adventures.  

We are super excited to post stories from trips in the future, and those from the past.  We live in the Pacific Northwest… so we will be writing about some of the things to do around Vancouver as well.  Feel free to comment and share your own stories.. we’re always looking for travel tips from others, or updated news and events from some of the places that we visited long ago.