…the part where I talk about the importance of this trip I took with Shawn to Vancouver.
My history of vacations is that they have either been me tagging along with my parents — the last one being in 1999 as a “Well, I’m going to die soon…” trip planned by my dad — or have been the kind where I’m broke and staying with relatives or friends or am pregnant or have kids.
This was my first ever adult vacation, where I went and did what I wanted to do and that is a Big Deal to me. I mean, it wasn’t just what I wanted to do, Shawn was traveling with me so he had equal input, but that’s a less thrilling way of telling the same story.
I know that I can get into a super over-planner mode and that once I start, I will not stop until every single minute is planned and I’ve plotted best and alternate routes and have decided where the rest-stops will be and where we should eat and and and I did not even want to go there. We struck a deal: I would diligently scour airfare and get the best flights and Shawn would take care of all of the logistics on arrival.
I had a small wishlist:
-hug a giant tree
-go in the mountains
-go to Wreck beach
During our time there, we did all these things, and more exciting opportunities unfolded and, as we made certain choices, some opportunities were lost and that is the nature of choice. It means that we need to go back to do the things we missed out on!
In case you couldn’t tell from in the captions of the photos, every time I would see a mountain, I would point and shout MOUNTAIN! I am sure that it was charming.
Obviously, I live tweeted/instagrammed/facebooked the entire thing. If you check that out, you will see entirely different photos and anecdotes than what you see here.
Things I didn’t get photos of but were super important to me as experiences:
- Biking through the city, it is city just regular city. But then I would look up ahead and there was what seemed to be a pop-up forest! Like, boring buildings to either side and then the street I was on suddenly starts having these giant giant trees flanking it and they block out all light and I need to sing the words “Magical Fo-Rest!!!!” the entire time I was biking though it. There are many streets like this.
- Being in the ocean, up to my nose, being one with the waves and facing the shore and my arms were being a part of the surface of the water and I would feel the suck-back because a wave was coming up behind me and it would lift me up and just BLOOP out from my arms and continue toward the shore and it felt like I had the power to shoot giant waves out from my soul and toward the land.
- Experiencing the sunset at Wreck Beach for the first time. I was sitting naked in the sand, reclining on a giant log, facing the ocean and distant mountains. There were a bunch of people who had been there for a while already, playing instruments, chatting, and having a good time. As the sun began to set, everyone started playing their music together, while facing the sun. It felt to me like they were playing for the sun itself. The music was softer and calm but as the sun got more red and the sliver remaining got smaller, the music intensified, and people all over the beach made joyful, exuberant exclamations. As that sliver disappeared, people cheered and clapped and shouted, the music reached it’s climax and then subsided. I declared this to be The Perfect Place.
- I realize that most of these have to do with the ocean… I was swimming with real live seals! Shawn and I went to the beach on our last full day and, on our first swim that day, there were two seals checking us out about 10 metres away from us. They seemed just as curious and just as reluctant to get closer as we were. They made seal noises — we pretended to make seal noises. They are my Seal Friends.
This trip will have forever changed me. I learned some important things about myself (yet another post to make), I experienced things outside of my already-lived experience, and I learned new and important ways to be with my partner. Now I’m excited about future travels!
On this day:
In 2012 – delayed gratification
In 2010 – yeah…. access to bike paths was not my impediment
In 2009 – a different kind of vacation
In 2007 – Those things still annoy me – the bike thing less so, maybe only 13%
In 2006 – I’m really hungry right now and seeing this dinner I made is NOT helping.
Shawn and I recently spent about a week and a half in and around Vancouver. This trip was a big deal to me for many many reasons and there are lots of facets that I want to blog about.
This post is about my experience of the cycling culture in Vancouver.
At the start of spring, Shawn suggested that we arrange to use bikes around Vancouver and I loved the idea. Immediately, I started looking into bike rentals and into the cost of bringing our own bikes along.
Bike rentals start at $50/day per bike.
Flying with bikes costs just over $300 per bike (return)
It became clear that buying a couple cheap, used and generally in serviceable condition bikes was the answer. On our second day in town we started looking for used bikes. It turns out, there aren’t many actual shops that sell used bikes, Craigslist reins supreme in the area, but doesn’t work well for two people looking for an immediate purchase. On our first evening in town, I saw a couple walking on the sidewalk chatting and bringing some pretty nice custom bikes with them and I figured they’d have some good info. They suggested two different shops, both close to where we were staying. It turned out that one of the two had what we were looking for.
We ended up at Our Community Bikes and lucked out on one serviced bike and one as-is bike and some sweet people giving a friendly discount deal to a fellow Women/Queer/Trans night facilitator. We left that place with two working bikes that only needed a few minor adjustments to suit our needs for the remaining 10 days of our trip.
So… What do I want to say about bike culture in Vancouver?
There are bike routes everywhere! Not only are there dedicated bike paths, but there are entire streets that are dedicated bike routs and cyclists just go on them in huge gangs, all over the place. That was such an amazing feeling, to be totally safe and travel as a group among strangers. Any cars just kind of deal with it. At small intersections there are roundabouts where those on the bike route have right-of-way over the cross-streets. At major intersections there are stop lights that are activated by a crossing button right there at the side of the road, where cyclists can reach them! And then, it isn’t a super long wait for the light to change, it’s practically instant.
It seems clear that cycling as a commute option has been well integrated into the city and the entire time I was there I super duper enjoyed cycling as an option. I didn’t feel like there was the animosity between drivers and cyclists like there is here in Ottawa. In fact, cars often stopped in busy roads to let us cross if we were not at a controlled intersection, or they paused long enough at stop signs to let us go through without having to stop of slow for them. It was so super chill and lovely.
On this day:
In 2012 – moving out – selling stuff
In 2009 – “those mini squash that remind me of crowns for hand puppets”
In 2008 – ” I can now manage showering regularly and feeding myself for the most part.” (insert something about solo-parenting here)
In 2007 – dead bodies in my mouth
In 2006 – public transit gives me Feelings – for real
In 2005 – not into it
thing happened to me. I just realized it moments ago, but I’m now a hugger.
I really REALLY wasn’t a hugger a few short years ago and I never thought I would be, but here it is. A fact.
Access to good quality hugs from a nice variety of people has made me feel so great in many ways lately. I feel like I’m the testimonial actor for the q-ray in my inability to describe why it has been so amazing. I know it makes me feel nourished in some way and that hugs from different people tend to have different uplifting qualities.
I like long hugs.
Short ones are ok. They are better than no ones.
Really awkwardly long ones are so the best. I’m feeling less awkward about them which maybe means I’m becoming that person who gives awkwardly long hugs.
On this day:
Yesterday, I took Bobby to the local toy store to choose something to buy with the money he received for his birthday. I showed him how he could determine what he could afford and gave him the usual guidelines of “nothing with weapons or about fighting”. He took his time and finally decided on a lego set with the caveat that any weapon pieces would be surrendered to me.
While we were at the store, he saw some more expensive lego sets that he was really excited about and was disappointed that he didn’t have enough money for them. We briefly talked about the idea that he could do some supplementary work around the house to earn some money to save for the lego set he wanted.
Once home, he spent a couple hours making the set and was feeling super accomplished about it.
Later that day, while we were having dinner, Bobby again brought up the fact of his disappointment. We talked about doing work around the home and he said he’d like to do that. I asked him what type of work he would like to do. He said Laundry! We agreed that he’d do the household laundry of 4 separate occasions, each occasion comprising of 4 tasks:
- bringing the laundry to the basement
- washing all the clothes
- drying all the clothes
- folding all the clothes
Today we got started! Shawn made a great chart so Bobby can check things off during the process. Currently, all the laundry is in the basement. There’s one load in the wash and one load in the dryer and one load left to be washed.
Bobby is really interested in learning what to do step by step. He gets excited about finding a way to reach the wet clothes out of the bottom of the washer and timing the pour of laundry detergent. He’s almost memorized all the settings by his second load.
I’ll be happy if the laundry all gets sorted by user let alone totally folded.
On this day: