Clearly, I’m crazy. At least this is what I’m sure many of my travel blogger friends are thinking about me being in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada this time of year. No mountains, no tropical beaches … what the hell is he thinking?
After 14 months in Latin America (posts on this will be coming to this blog in due time … no seriously, I promise it’s coming!), I’ve reached a point where various aspects of my life have converged all at once, leading me to put a halt to my travels for the time being.
image credit: photo by CC user 70626035@N00 on Flickr
Well, we’re halfway through January, but with all the freelance work I’ve been bashing my way through, this year in review had to wait for awhile. In many ways, 2014 was defined by the growth of my mobile business, which caused this blog to be neglected at times ( Mama’s been busy, but I still love you all … sorry!).
In true digital nomad fashion though, I managed to get in tons of travel between the ever frequent 12 hour work days (the less glamorous aspect of the trade), starting in Chiang Mai, Thailand on New Year’s Day and progressing through Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico and Belize.
While most that visit Vancouver hang out on the downtown peninsula, there is so more more to the city that they are missing out on. Case in point: Vancouver’s West Side (not to be confused with the west end, which refers to the westerly portion of downtown that’s one of the most densely populated parts of Canada, or West Vancouver, which is the uber rich enclave on the North Shore near the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal).
In addition to all the world renowned natural scenery that can be found all around the Greater Vancouver Area, another aspect that makes this modern metropolis attractive to people from all over Canada and the world is its food scene. From restaurants (like the Indian place on Davie Street that is shown above), to public markets, the astounding variety of high quality cuisine and foodstuffs will blow the mind of even the most discerning foodie.
Of all the markets in Van City and area, the Granville Island Market is the most celebrated of them all. From produce to cheeses, prepared food to fresh flowers, even casual tourists will find enough stuff here to make a trip to Granville Island worthwhile.
If you have not been to Vancouver, it can be hard to place how modern and built up this city truly is. Everybody has their preconceived notions surrounding Canada as a largely uninhabited wilderness with charming yet somewhat backwater-ish people. So when you walk through a scene like the one shown above (just steps away from verdant Stanley Park), it can be a surreal experience.
Still not convinced? Take a look inside the Vancouver I’ve grown to love, a city that is very much a flag bearer for 21st century urban living.
Sitting on Canada’s west coast, the city of Vancouver, which sits at end of a low lying sliver of land in British Columbia’s southwest known as the Lower Mainland, experience considerably warmer weather than the rest of the nation as a whole.
Together with Vancouver Island and the North Coast, they are bubbles of mildness that endure through the vast majority of a harsh Canadian winter, with daytime highs averaging between 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (42 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) at a time when the rest of Canada is in the deep freeze and buried under mounds of snow.
In order to have the time to lay out and execute my plan to teach ESL in South Korea, I determined that I needed to quit my job to give myself the breathing space required to satisfy the myriad of steps to secure a Korean work visa and with it, a job.
However, during the ensuing time between leaving my job and boarding the plane to Korea, there was a lot of lag time spent in Calgary going for daily walk in the suburbs, working on my website, and watching Youtube and the Walking Dead. Yawn.
With the onset of winter rapidly approaching, I had not truly gotten out into the mountains that much. Yes, I had gone out on a trip for Labour Day Weekend to see my friends, and I had done a whirlwind tour of Icefields Parkway attractions for you guys, but had not hoofed it through the wilds of the Canadian Rockies yet during that summer, which was a crime in and of itself!
After years of working at Maligne Lake, and with the easy accessibility of Lake Louise, it was a shame that I hadn’t been to one of the Rockies’ most underappreciated bodies of water, Moraine Lake. It’s not that nobody knows about this place, as it was featured on the back of the Canadian dollar bill (before we switched to the less regal-sounding loonie coin), and there is a homely looking resort on the premises.
The Canadian Rockies boasts many gorgeous lakes. Of them all, perhaps Peyto Lake, located in Banff National Park, is the most brilliant. Coloured by glacial sediment that has tinged the lake a delightful shade of baby blue, it is a sight that gets the shutters clicking the second you step on the viewpoint from where this photo was taken.
There is a path that will take you down to the lake shore, and I had photos of it that I lost, but I didn’t have time to re-do my trek on this day, as my rental car was due to be returned in mere hours … I’ll have to plan it out better next time I am in Banff National Park!