2015 Challenge Accomplished: 20 Adventures In the PNW ✓

In 2015, I chose not to travel overseas in order to save money and focus on other projects. It was a tough decision, since I have been travelling around the globe annually for the past 14 years. It was something I had to do, in order to financially get back on track and work on my future. But not travelling doesn’t mean not exploring. I am fortunate to live in an area that offers such an incredible playground. So at the beginning of the year, I challenged myself in doing at least 20 adventures around the beautiful Pacific North West. 

#1. Snowboard trip to Red Mountain, Rossland.

#2. Winter canoeing on Green Lake.

#3. Nordic skiing nights at Callaghan Country.

#4. Fly over the Pemberton Icefield to the Meager Creek hotsprings aboard a helicopter.  

#5. Hike the Sea-to-Sky trail from Whistler to Brandywine.

#6. Camping-canoe trip to Marble Canyon.

#7. Hike to Stawamus Chief to catch the last rays of sunset.

#8. Take a floatplane to Vancouver from Whistler.

#9. Play tourists and bicycle Vancouver’s famous seawall, and through Stanley Park.

#10. Surf trip to Tofino.

#11. Hike Joffre Lakes.

#12. Weekend escapes to Anderson Lake.

#13. Ocean camping in the Gulf Islands.

#14. Family trip to Hornby Island.

#15. Pig roasting at a beach in the middle of a mountain to celebrate the end of the summer.

#16. Night canoeing under a full moon at Callaghan Lake.

#17. Hike the Skywalk trail up to Iceberg Lake.

#18. Spend a night at a cabin in the backcountry.

#19. Night iceskating under the full moon at Joffre Lakes.

But the most amazing adventure of the year:

#20. I bought my first home (on wheels)! I am now living off the grid, a lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about.

It is important to pause once in a while and look what’s around us. We don’t always have to travel across the globe to explore new paths and be treated with incredible views. Beauties are within reach and waiting to be discovered. And sometimes, it is the people who tag along, our home buddies, furry friends or family that make the journey worth of all beauties.

I am excited for 2016. I am well-rested, projects in hand and ready to move mountains! I wish you all a safe journey to the new year, filled with new beginnings, new dreams and new adventures!

The Ocean Is Calling And I Must Go

There is a place on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island that was built for dreamers: a place where the salty air is curing, the cold ocean is rejuvenating, and the lush rainforests are reinvigorating. A place where people go to gaze at the ocean in peace, and experience nature at its humblest best.
Tofino is indeed an oasis of nature’s wonders. With its beautiful old-growth coastal forests, abundant wildlife and miles of sandy beaches, this little surfing town attracts many surfers, outdoor adventurers, soul searchers, and nature lovers every year.
There’s been a lot of change recently in my life, and after a long winter spent in the mountains, I felt an overpowering urge to be by the ocean. So when Corianne showed interest for a weekend getaway, there were no doubts we had to make a trip to Tofino. We left Whistler at dusk on Saturday morning and headed South to catch the 8:30am BC Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay towards Nanaimo. The 2 hour-ride through the Gulf Islands was scenic, as we sat in the rear deck, sheltered from the wind, exposed to the morning sun.
image Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway 19, a car loaded with camping gear and a sun blasting in the sky. We crossed the island on Highway 4 towards Clayoquot Sound, meandering through a coastal forest of old-growth oaks. The beams of the afternoon sun poured through trees and fog. We travelled the road through the rugged coast, ascending and descending, swirling and twisting, until we arrived to the coastal town of Tofino.

We had booked camping on the beach at Bella Pacifica located on Mackenzie Beach. We set up camp and retired on the beach for the evening as the sun was setting. Along with wine, cheeses, and charcuterie, we admired the hues of the sky as the sun retired behind the evening haze.

We woke up early the next morning to another beautiful and sunny day. We brewed fresh coffee and took a stroll on the beach. As we shuffled our bare feet in the sand, we found ourselves spectators of a rare scene: the beach was blanketed by thousands of blue tiny creatures called “sail jellyfish”, scientifically known as Velella velella, that washed ashore during the night. At the rocky shores of the bay, we explored the tidal pools at low tide and spotted many starfishes and sea anemones. Amongst curious children, we were fascinated by the stunning diversity of marine life.

There was a short hike I’ve heard of and really wanted to do. It wasn’t on any map, so after asking a few locals, I had enough clues to hunt for the hidden trail. I couldn’t be more happier when I found the entrance, and I couldn’t be more excited when we reached the top, overlooking the panoramic view of Cox Bay.

After a lunch of fresh tuna tacos at Tacofino, we headed back to Cox Bay with our surfing gear. Time to slip in the wetsuit, put on the booties, strap the leash and head to the water. I am no surfer. But I can play in the waves. And here in Tofino, there is no better place than its beautiful beachbreaks and high waist waves. IMG_9587 I took a moment to embrace my surroundings: The water slipping off my forehead, the air cleansing my lungs, the setting sun warming up my skin, and a setting to dream for. I glanced at my friends, who glanced back, nodding for this inspiring moment we shared. We spent the night by the campfire on the beach, along with friends we met. The moon rose and settled in the sky, full and ripe, stretching its light far in the distance. We watched fireworks exploding in the clear sky while the sounds of drums resonated through the night.

We woke up the second morning to an overcast sky. After we packed our gear we made a stop to the beach. Corianne went for a last surf session while I watched her played in the wave under the rain, sitting cozy in my camping chair.

We headed back to Nanaimo in the afternoon to catch the last ferry. The sun eventually broke through the clouds, taking over the sky. The ferry ride made us speechless, as we watched the sunrays painting the sky, as it retired behind the islands. IMG_9693 Coastal living offers wonderful benefits. Not only does spending time by the ocean balances the body and creates physical harmony, but it also allows us to take a moment to pause, reflect, meditate and embrace solitude. It brings us to a tranquil state of mindfulness and awareness, and gives a sense of freedom. It clarifies the mind and opens up to new perspectives. There is something healing about looking at the ocean, listening to the soothing sound of the waves pounding on the shore and breathing the invigorating fresh air. So if you ever need to calm your mind, improve your physical health or find inspiration and purpose to your life, perhaps all you need is a holistic dose of Vitamin Sea. image