Hornby Island for a Family Vacation

Raised by a single mother and with an older brother that took on his freedom filled life as soon as I was born, I never really had the chance to understand the term “family vacation”. Of course my mom always made sure we would go on road-trips and explore the beautiful corners and cultural gems of the province of Quebec. It was always a memorable mother-daughter vacation, sometimes tagged with our furry friends.

My brother settled in British Columbia 15 years ago where he met his wife and her family. My first solo flight was when I was 15, to go and visit him on the other side of the country. I got really close to this new circle, a reconstructed family of many siblings. Now that my brother and I both live in the province, he on the island, and I in the mountains, we don’t see each other as often as we wish, but I try to commit to once a year since he now has two beautiful blooming boys. So, when my brother and his wife invited me to their annual family vacation on Hornby Island, there was no way I could miss this special reunion.

We left Whistler on Friday afternoon after work. We boarded the 5:20pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay. The 1:40min scenic ride through the Gulf Islands was refreshing and relaxing, soothing a long work week.


Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway BC-19A. I had booked a campsite at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, just to make the trip less cumbersome and more enjoyable. Rathtrevor Park is located along the shoreline, in the city of Parksville. The campground is very clean and the sites are large, well-maintained and just few steps from the beach.

In the morning, Juno and I went for a stroll. We traversed the short path to the beach across an old-growth forest. The low tide left us with many treasures to find on the golden sand. I took deep breathes and soaked in the fresh air.


After everything was packed up, we head back on the Oceanside Highway and drove north towards Buckley Bay. We hopped on the ferry towards Denman. Then drove accross the island and took another 10min-ferry onto Hornby.

Hornby Island has a small community of less than 1,000 residents, mostly artists, retirees, bohemians, and any lovers of the remote rural island life. We followed the road that hugged the sandstone shorelines, making our way to the northeast of the island. We arrived at Tribune Bay Campground, where we set up camp. The clouds slowly covered the sky, predicting a heavy rain. We set up a large tarp above our site, making our cozy home for the weekend.


The rain arrived at the same time as my family. We greeted under the protecting trees. We built a shelter from pop-up tents and tarps where we found dry refuge for the afternoon. After dinner we sat around the fire-pit, catching up with the grown-ups while grandma told stories to the kids.

The weather cleared out the next morning and we spent the day at Tribune Bay Beach. The kids played in the waves, leftover from the stormy weather.

In the evening we headed to the Pizza Galore. We sat on blankets on the soft grass in the middle of an orchard. Under an apple tree we opened our bottle of wine and enjoyed delicious homemade pizzas. A live band paired our meals with notes of beautiful music while kids played hide and seek, and others played boardgames under the trees.


The sunbeams scattered the sky. We spent another night around the fire pit, telling stories and playing games. And when the night reached its deep darkness, we took a stroll on the beach. We watched the constellations grace the night as the shooting stars ignited one by one.


We woke up to a stunning sky. The rain evaporated from the heating ground. The kids rushed through breakfast, ready to hit the beach. We headed to Helliwell Beach, located on a headland at the southeast of the island. The sand is white, the beach endless, and the water of a crystal clear blue I have never seen in Canada.


It was a beautiful day skimboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding.

The girls even opened up a sand spa for anyone keen of a natural seaside massage.


It was time for me to head back. I kissed and hugged deeply everyone goodbye. As we drove away, I waived a last farewell to my brother still standing on the beach watching me depart.

The 3 ferries home gave me the time and the space to imprint all those beautiful memories I had made. I thought about my dear mother, who I wished could’ve made the trip from the East. I am so privileged to have the mother and the brother that I have, along with all my consanguinity family. I am also so grateful to be part of this circle of people that I have met at 15 years old, half way through my current life. I hope to many more family vacations.


Whether they are your parents, sibblings, family members, affinities, friends, or whoever with there is a sense of belonging, unconditional love, mutual respect and care, acknowledge who those people are and make time for them, as often as you can. Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to call my mother.


Merry Christmas!

As I walked in the illuminated streets of my neighbourhood, trying to digest the over consumption of sausage stuffing and other Christmas festive dishes, a maple whisky and eggnog in one hand, and my dogs on a leash in the other, I filled myself with Christmas Spirit.

It was Christmas night and the crescent moon glittered in the sky full of stars. It snowed the previous evening, as it always does the night before Christmas, leaving a white sparkly robe on every tree, and a frosty glaze on every roof. The scents of firewood burning through the chimneys blended with the fresh and crisp air. Houses decorated with flickering and twinkling lights lit the dark streets of magic.

I couldn’t help but glimpse through the home windows. Families gathered in the living room, watching the fire crackling, playing games or chatting. Some were still around the table, stretching a long Christmas dinner.

I started to think about my own family, my friends back home, my friends here, and the people I met during my travels. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life, and I believe this is the greatest gift life has given me.

I returned to my little mountain home. My dogs panted their way back, satisfied of their evening walk. My friends haven’t move from their cozy seats beside the Christmas tree, still struggling to breath from a stuffed belly. The house smelled like good food and spices. I sat amongst my loved ones, my cheeks, nose and heart warming up to the comfort of my home.

I don’t want anything for Christmas. I already have everything I need. And I hope you do too.

Merry Christmas to you all!



Family Day Somewhere in the Mountains Far Away

We all left home years ago. Some with a backpack on their shoulders aboard a bus or a plane or in a car packed with all the belongings a teenager could have. We were young and innocent. We were hungry for wild adventures and unique experiences. We were searching for flexibility and freedom. We left a home, we left a family, we left all we knew to enter a journey into the unknown.

Years went by and stories we made. Experiences we created with friends that tagged all along. We built a family, far away from home. This is home now. And we are family.

Today is Family Day in British Columbia. The town is grey and the clouds are low. It doesn’t really matter how is the weather outside, as long as we are all together. After a warm breakfast and fresh mimosas, we pack our backpacks with some refreshments and hit the slopes. 

As we slowly ascend on the chairlift, we find ourselves in the middle of a cold mist. We can barely see the chair in front of us. We are lost in the sky, floating across the frosty veil.

It is when we reach an elevation of approximately 1,800m that we exit the last layer of clouds and reach the blue sky. We leave behind a sea of clouds where only mountain peaks are visible to our eyes. The sky is blue, the sun is bright. 

We go further up and hit the glacier where we settle up our afternoon camp on a dune of snow. We pop the bubbles, crack a cold one and cheer to a good life. The scenery is absolutely stunning. I look at my friends, I admire the mountains. There is no where else I’d rather be.

Whether your family is affiliated by blood or simply affinities, they are the people that shaped you and rode along with you. They accept you for who you are, they never judge. Treat them with respect and care. Protect the relationships. Give and forgive. Receive and remember. They are the people that will always be there for you.

Wrap Up 2012

Comes the end of 2012 and looking back at the days that became weeks, weeks that became months, months that made the year.

As time flies like in the blink of an eye, my goal is to always keep the calendar full and accomplished so each year is a unique chapter with its own flavor, its own story.

It is time to rememorate the highlights of the year passed and cheer one more time for a great life!

Dear 2012:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live, work and play in the Cayman Islands.

Thank you for challenging me in obtaining my Advanced Open Water Certificate and the change to dive every mornings.

Thank you for making me taste the life of the rich and famous drinking Moët & Chandon aboard luxurious yachts, every Sunday Fundays.

Thank you for the great occasion to light up a cigar in Cuba and sipped many Mojitos while meeting up with my mother for a weekend in Old Havana.

Thank you for this entertaining road trip in Puerto Rico, from East to West Coast, from historic San Juan to surf town of Rincon, to magnificent inland caves and waterfalls.

Thank you for this nice visit at a friend’s in St-Thomas and all this pampering at the Marriott.

Thank you for the amusing exploration of the island of St-John aboard our roofless Jeep.

Thank you for this return home to Whistler and all those weekend on the lake and wild camping.

Thank you for this latin adventure through Central America, starting in Belize diving the Great Blue Hole with a dozen Black Tip sharks.

Thank you for giving me the chance to explore the Maya temples of Tikal in Guatemala.

Thank you for making me fall in love with El Salvador: it’s sun, it’s surf, it’s sea. I might go back and never come back 😉

Thank you for this attempt to surf in the waves of Nicaragua‘s Pacific Coast.

Thank you for this unique home that I love returning to. My 7th heaven, my soft pillow, my paradise in a snowglobe.

What did I learn through this passed year?

Well, I learnt that even if you jump feet first into the new and the unknown, even if you are scared and unsure, at the end you’ll be doing just fine. By simply keeping your head up high with a positive attitude and an enthusiastic approach, you can achieve anything! Take risks, be scared, get out of your comfort zone and go explore the globe! It’s a brilliant and colorful world out there!

I learnt that sometimes to need to let go, sometimes you need to hold on. It’s finding what’s best for you. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on yourself.  You can do anything. The only thing stopping you is yourself.

I learnt the importance of being surrounded by people that makes you happy, keeps you positive, inspire you. People that are mentally and physically active. People that smile everyday.

Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter what you do. But it is how you do it. Make a list, and make sure you check it. Restore your dreams, plan your projects and accomplish your goals, one at a time. It doesn’t matter how much you do, but as long as you do it. Remember that the only things that you regret are the risks you didn’t take. You only have one life. And it is yours to achieve.

So I thank you 2012 for all the discoveries of places, for the memorable adventures and for the encounters of amazing and inspiring people.

Farewell 2012 and welcome 2013!

Have a great year fellow footlooses!


Time to Be Jolly


It is that time of the year again to put our hideous winter sweaters on and raise our sparkling glass to cheer to love, joy and peace at last. Christmas is just around the corner and I am so excited as it is my favorite time of the year. The mountains are thick and white, the air is cold and crisp, the houses are warm and cozy. The tree is fully decorated and illuminated, presents are already stacked up underneath it and the smell of spices, oranges and chocolate just flow through the air.

Coffee Bailey’s, Powder Days, Apres Ski, Snowmobiles

Holidays can run forever, or until you are out of your 26oz bottle of Bailey’s to put in your coffee in the morning. It is a time to get together and be jolly. Grab a cup of coffee, spike it with some love, put on your gears and reach the mountains. Along with your best pals, ride all day on the most untouched terrain. Powder days are usually abundant at this time and fresh runs are always found. Apres ski at one of the best patios in town, perhaps order a Caesar and munch on some delicious nachos. Come back home and soak in a hot tub for the lucky ones, or if you have pooches like I do, take a walk through the park or take your ross-country skis for a ride or even your snowshoes. I usually make sure I have a batch of home made mulled wine or spiced rum apple cider ready to reheat and put in a thermos. If it is your day off perhaps you want to bring the snowmobiles to one of the cabins in the backcountry and spend the night away in the mountains. Snack on cheese fondue and toast the bread on the wood oven. You can hear the snow melt on the roof as the hut gets warmer. If the lake is ready to go (and make sure it is), put on a pair of skates and go for a spin. Fireworks are also always fun to bring to the cabin.

Christmas Eve Dinner: A Classic Whistler Family Feast

As a tradition that runs in most of our families back home, we decide to keep it going and cook a massive feast ready for midnight on Christmas Eve. Cooking homemade food, delicious and savory recipes for 20. As much work as it seems, I just simply love it! While in the kitchen, mixing flavors and ingredients, sipping on wine and Christmas cocktails with a girlfriend, the boys play cards and video games

and the dogs are passed out on the living room carpet. Living in Whistler make us all far away from our families every Christmas. We all left 5,10, 15 years ago. This is our family now. We are family. And moments like this are simply unique and priceless.

After devouring a gourmet feast, it is time to open the presents that are waiting impatiently under the tree.Like big kids we dig in our treats, proud and happy of showing our new toys and accessories. The rigodons paired with the wines and cocktails invite us to sing and dance as the night flies to early hours of the morning.

The ladies
The gentlemen 

We eat, we drink, we dance, we celebrate. We laugh, we cry, we love. What a beautiful night. What a beautiful scene. What a beautiful family I have.

From East to West Coast, from islands to mountains, from big cities to far countries, from white sand beaches to powdered hills, I wish you all Happy Holidays and I hope you all get what you need. As for me, I surely did. And it wasn’t a watch nor a car, neither a raise at work or an envelop filled with dollars, but it was the friends and love and the genuine spirit of Christmas.