After I packed up my apartment, my intent was to spend 1 week visiting family in Edmonton and 1 week back in Calgary before flying to Halifax on my way to London. But, when the opportunity came up to make a last minute trip to Victoria to see some of my favorite people, I could not pass it up. This led me to driving the U-haul to my Dads just outside of Edmonton, unload boxes and spend just 1 night before boarding my flight to Victoria.
In the past few years I have made several trips to beautiful Vancouver Island. Living in dry, land-locked Calgary, having a wonderful escape spot like lush, humid Vancouver Island is such a treat. I really feel like it has become my second home. Victoria is a small city but is the capital of British Columbia. It’s located on the southern tip of the island and is always buzzing with tourists. Mostly from the many cruise ships that stop there. One of my favorite things to do is walk along the waterfront and stop at the many restaurants to have a glass of wine and oysters. British Columbia is well known for the world-class wines and of course an abundance of Pacific oysters. I can spend hours people watching and gazing out at the open ocean. Of course it makes it much more enjoyable when I am also spending that time with some of the amazing people I know live there. (I won’t name names to protect their privacy).
While Victoria can be a buzzing little city, once you take a short drive out of the city, it is a whole different feel. It is extremely lush and people take life a little slower. Vancouver Island is actually classified as a Temperate Rainforest and close to 25% of the world’s Temperate Rainforests are found in British Columbia. Driving along the Malahat highway is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced. The winding road is either nearly covered by massive green, mossy trees or you are able to gaze out at the rippling blue ocean. This last time the road was a bit foggy but that just added to the beauty of it all. I wanted to stop and take photos but unfortunately there is no place to pull over unless its a designated pull out area. There is something so calming about being in that type of environment. There are countless little towns off the highway but they are all tucked in the trees. Passing by you wouldn’t think it’s a whole town but only a few shops and a gas station and each town seems to be known for something. The town of Duncan is known for the Totem Poles and the town of Chemanius has the murals.
All of Vancouver Island has gorgeous lakes in addition to the surrounding ocean. There are countless hiking paths some clearly marked but the best ones are not of course. You might get a little lost as you wander through the trees and climb mountains but that’s all part of the fun and adventure. The best views are from the top of a mountain when you are completely winded from the climb.
To be honest, I was going back and forth for while on the decision to move to London or Victoria. I finally made my decision based on the fact that with me holding a Polish passport, with Brexit happening in the UK, I can still currently live and work there. Since that can all be changing very soon, I thought I should take the opportunity while I have it. Living overseas has always been a dream of mine and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. While Vancouver Island is wonderful and I know I would be very happy there, it ( and Canada) will always be there if I ever choose to come back. I am someone who truly believes you only regret the things you did not do. Seize the opportunity when they come because they may not come again.